Scientists overwhelmed by results of Alzheimer's study

July 15, 2005

Alzheimer's disease is due to massive damage of brain tissue. As cells die memory loss is observable. Eventually, enough cells die to lead to complete helplessness. Damaged forms of the proteins beta-amyloid and tau protein are largely to blame for the tangled mess of Alzheimer's tissue. In this study, researchers at the University of Minnesota de-activated genes involved with these proteins and the results were so significant the researchers thought they were making an error. The mice were mutant strains that genetically developed brain damage leading to Alzheimer's dementia - that severe state of memory loss seen in Alzheimer's patients. Since the mice were genetically bred to develop the disease, the researchers knew which gene to shut off and how. Using the antibiotic doxycycline, the gene was shut off. However, instead of the disease just stopping, the mice actually started getting better. When the gene was shut off preventing damage to still healthy brain-nerve tissue, even the mice who lost half of the brain neurons that are involved in forming memory were able to learn and remember new information. The study appears in the July 15th, 2005 issue of the journal Science.

Curcumin, the ingredient in Turmeric, may fight melanoma according to preliminary research

Previously, researchers at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have shown that curcumin, the active constituent in Turmeric, helps prevent tumors from forming in the lab. They recently demonstrated curcumins ability to inhibit the spread of breast cancer to the lungs of mice. In this cellular study, the researchers found that curcumin inhibited two enzymes that melanoma skin cancer needs to survive - to remain immortal. This caused the melanoma cancer cells to die. The research appears ahead of print in the upcoming issue of the journal Cancer.