Newsweek (9/19, Gander) reports researchers targeted senescent cells, also called “zombie cells,” in mice with Alzheimer’s disease with “tangles of the tau protein…in their brains.” The researchers said, “Using a combination of unique mouse models and pharmacological means to eliminate these cells, we established that their presence in the central nervous system promotes pathologic alterations, including the accumulation of toxic aggregates of tau protein. Furthermore, we show that senescent cells drive neurodegeneration and loss of cognition in mice.” The findings were published online in Nature. The Atlantic (9/19, Yong) reports the researchers found that after removing the senescent cells, the mice “didn’t lose neurons as they normally would, and their memories remained intact.” The researchers hope that a similar approach might be able to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s in people. The Atlantic adds that many previous studies involving rodent models of Alzheimer’s disease have failed to replicate in people, but over the past three years, “the National Institutes of Health has dramatically increased its spending on Alzheimer’s research, tripling its annual budget…to $ 1.9 billion.”(SOURCE: APA Headlines)
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