Is reversing brain aging possible? A group of researchers at Stanford University in the United States may have figured out how to accomplish this task and restore mental acuity. The novelty was described in a study published last Wednesday (20), in Nature.
In research led by neurology professor Katrin Andreasson, scientists found a method that can reverse mental aging in elderly mice, assuming that inflammation is responsible for the process that makes cells age. Human cells were also used in the laboratory tests.
As the Californian institution explains, biologists theorize that reducing such inflammation would delay the entire aging process, also delaying the appearance of age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, some types of cancer and heart problems, for example. Even body weakness and cognitive decline could be delayed.
Stanford professor Katrin Andreasson led the research team responsible for the experiment.Source: Stanford University / Disclosure
The key to this would be to block the process that causes certain immune cells to accelerate inflammation in the body. And that was what the Stanford researchers were able to do, a discovery that can lead to the recovery of mental skills in the elderly, with the use of medications, if confirmed.
According to the study, a type of immune cell called myeloid, found in the brain, peripheral tissues of the body and circulatory system, is related to aging. In addition to fighting invaders in the body and cleaning up dead cells and other debris, it supplies nutrients to other cells and monitors pathogens.
But over time, myeloids start to accelerate and go beyond their normal protective functions, causing inflammation and collateral tissue damage. Knowing this, the researchers blocked the interaction between a specific hormone (PGE2) and an abundant receptor in them (EP2), preventing the onset of inflammatory activities.
In the animals tested, scientists were able to regain the mental acuity of when they were young.Source: Pixabay
This simple block was enough to “restore juvenile metabolism and the placid temperament of human and mouse myeloid cells”, leading to a reversal of the mental decline caused by age in older rats, according to Andreasson.
As a consequence, the procedure made it possible to restore the memory and spatial orientation skills of the tested mice to levels comparable to those presented by the younger animals.
Human testing: the next step
The scientists tested two experimental drugs in an attempt to block the PGE2-EP2 interaction and slow cell aging. Only one of them was effective in the task, even though it did not penetrate the blood-brain barrier, demonstrating that the research can be promising.
Despite this, they are still a long way from conducting clinical studies with humans, not least because these compounds have not been approved for testing in people, due to the chance of having toxic side effects.
The discovery may, in the future, lead to the production of drugs that would delay the onset of age-related diseases.Source: Pixabay
One possibility is that they serve as a basis for the production of other safer drugs for future tests in humans, in an attempt to verify whether reversal of brain aging is also possible in man.
If this is confirmed, the method may one day be used for the development of innovative drugs, capable of delaying or even reversing conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, among other diseases that arise as age advances.