Alzheimer’s disease afflicts more than five million Americans. It is also the most common cause of dementia in older adults, according to the National Institute of Health.
According to an article published in the Nov. 12, 2015 issue of the Journal of Aging, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researchers Drs. Antonio Currais and David Shubert discovered unanticipated anti-aging benefits after treating laboratory mice with an experimental drug dubbed, J-147. The drug worked well in a mouse model of aging not typically used in Alzheimer’s research. The research team’s goal was to explore the effects of this drug on a particular breed of mice that has specific characteristics of aging rapidly and simultaneously experiencing a version of dementia that more closely resembles the age-related human disorder.
Improved Gene Expression
Mice that received J-147 performed better on memory and other tests for cognition and also displayed more robust motor movements, according to researchers, who focused on old age itself (a major risk factor for this disease), instead of the usual route of detecting amyloid plaque deposits in the brain.
Remarkably, the treated mice showed fewer pathological signs of Alzheimer’s in their brains. Furthermore, many aspects of gene expression were very similar to those of young animals. These included markers of increased metabolism, healthier brain blood vessels, better memory and cognition, reduced inflammation and levels of oxidized fatty acids. It also prevented in the brain, blood leakage from the micro-vessels, while also improving other physiological features. Damaged blood vessels are a common feature of aging in general, and in Alzheimer’s in particular.
The researchers said that they did not predict the anti-aging effect; where J-147 made old mice act younger; with improved physiology, memory and an appearance that more closely resembled young mice.
Although these studies represent a new and exciting approach to Alzheimer’s drug discovery via animal testing in the context of aging, the researchers said that the only way to demonstrate the clinical relevance of the work is to proceed to human clinical trials, which are slated to begin next year, with auxiliary anti-aging benefits. This research demonstrates that such scientifically-proven interventions can improve our aging profile.
Furthermore, recent scientific studies have shown that proper nutrition can stimulate systems in the body that have been slowed by the aging process, and restore more youthful functionality. It is important to realize that the rate at which we age is under more of our control than was once thought to be possible.
Navin M. Geria
Senior Technical Advisor and Principal Doctors Skin Prescription
Navin Geria, ex-Pfizer Research Fellow, is senior technical advisor and principal of the dermatological research company, Doctors Skin Prescription (DSP), Boston, founded by dermatologist David J. Goldberg, MD JD and plastic surgeons William P. Adams, MD FACS and Jason Pozner, MD. Geria has more than 30 years of experience in the personal care industry and was previously with Clairol, Warner-Lambert, Schick, Bristol-Myers and most recently, Spa Dermaceuticals. He has earned nearly 20 US patents, has been published extensively and has been both a speaker and a moderator at cosmetic industry events. www.dspskincare.com