Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s might actually be reversible
The study published in Cell Reports suggests that breaking down the genetic blockades inside the brain is possible. The theory has been tested on mice, but Li-Huei Tsai, lead author of the study, is hoping to reverse the symptoms in humans as well, according to the Independent.
Memory loss occurs when the enzyme HCAC2 compresses the brain’s memory genes until they become useless and lead to forgetfulness and difficulty forming memories. The obvious solution is to block HCAC2 in action, but doing this has proven difficult without impacting the other HDAC enzymes and affecting the internal organs.
MIT offers a different approach, as it exclusively affects HCAC2 and leaves other enzymes undisturbed. Tsai managed to block the enzyme in December by using LED lights, which prevented it from binding with Sp3, a genetic binding partner which is a part of genetic blockade formation.
“This is exciting because for the first time we have found a specific mechanism by which HDAC2 regulates synaptic gene expression,” Tsai explained. “If we can remove the blockade by inhibiting HDAC2 activity or reducing HDAC2 levels, then we can restore expression of all these genes necessary for learning and memory.”
The research is the most revolutionary to date in regards to finding a cure to Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia that affects 850,000 people in the UK, even though it is in its early stages.