Dena Dubal (center), MD, PhD, and her team have jumped head first into studying aging and dementia through their research of a protein called klotho.

Could a protein named klotho block aging and dementia?

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Summary: More klotho means better cognitive function says a scientist. By injecting the protein Klotho into mice with Alzheimer’s, a UCSF researcher improved their brain function. The researcher hopes to eventually apply the treatment to humans to treat aging and dementia. [Introduction by Brady Hartman, followed by a link to the full article.]

Neurologist and neuroscientist Dr. Dena Dubal wants to prevent dementia and aging with a protein called Klotho. Dr. Dubal, MD, Ph.D. – an associate professor of neurology at UC San Francisco – aims to use this novel approach to battle neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Rather than battle these diseases head-on, professor Dubal aims to block the aging process itself. Dr. Dubal is testing the protein’s potential as a therapeutic.  The researcher found that by administering the protein to mice, she gave them a cognitive boost, equivalent to genetically increasing klotho. In fact, after injecting the protein into mice that had a condition similar to Alzheimer’s, Dr. Dubal remarked

“We found that those mice that had been treated, within four hours had better brain function”

The treatment worked in both young and old mice.

Next, Dr. Dubal’s team will try to understand how klotho acts on the brain without crossing the blood-brain barrier. Dubal hopes that klotho could eventually become a treatment for humans to improve brain health and protect against aging and dementia. Dr. Dubal said,

“For humans, the end game really is: how can we increase our ‘healthspan?'” adding, “And that may go hand in hand with an increase in life span, because the things that help us to live longer are also the things that help us to live better.”

Read the full article at medicalxpress.com.

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