‘A Turning Point’ for Alzheimer’s?

Good morning, ProviderNation.

British researchers say they’ve come up with a medicine that protects the brains of laboratory mice from decay.

The wonder chemical zeroes in on nasty proteins called prions that are the shock troops of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. It not only stopped prions at sites where they were eating away at brains, but created “neuroprotective” layers throughout the mice brains, the University of Leicerster researchers wrote in the latest edition of the journal, ScienceTranslational Medicine.

Those of us who are weary of Alzheimer’s awful two-step have been here before. But some of Alzheimer’s most ardent foes say they’re geeked up by the discovery. “This finding, I suspect, will be judged by history as a turning point in the search for medicines to control and prevent Alzheimer’s disease,” says King’s College London Professor Roger Morris, who recently co-authored a report on the global devastation wrought by dementia (read all about it the November glossy of Provider!).

This doesn’t mean a cure is imminent, or even close, but Morris tells the BBC he’s “very excited” because the research is “the first proof in any living animal that you can delay neurodegeneration.”

“The world won’t change tomorrow,” Morris says, “but this is a landmark study.”

In other news, New York’s Court of Appeals upholds a state law that prevents nursing homes from withdrawing assets or equity without permission of state health officials; Canadian researchers say that one-third of all falls in skilled nursing centers result in head trauma; and the New York Times has a social worker answering live questions about assisted living today.

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