istockphoto 1272508891 612x612September is World Alzheimer’s Month, a time to raise awareness of the disease and its effects worldwide. An Illinois scientist may have discovered a new way to restore memory loss from the disease. The University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine conducted a study led by Professor Orly Lazarov, which focused on boosting the production of neurons in the brain cells of mice.  This new research may lead to the possibilities of advancing the current state of Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The hippocampus is the area of the brain that allows individuals to remember things, such as where they have placed their keys. The research conducted at UIC focused on mice with a mutation of Alzheimer’s that impacts the hippocampus area of the brain. Through neurogenesis process, scientists focused on deleting a gene called Bax, by boosting new neurons into cells. These new neurons prompted the memory in mice showing significant improvement in the mice’s function, performance, and ability to remember.  The mice showed enhancements in spatial recognition, which is a skill that helps distinguish spatial relations, such as knowing how to drive home. The contextual memory of the mice also advanced, which is the ability to memorize specific emotions, people and places.

This month, many people raise worldwide awareness to the fact that over 50 million individuals suffer from Dementia, with 50-60% of them suffering from Alzheimer’s. In the state of Illinois alone, Alzheimer’s is growing into a public health crisis, with over 230,000 people aged 65 and older living with the disease. While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, this study conducted in Illinois brings great hope on treating and focusing on the diseases cause,  opening the possibilities for new ways to better treat Alzheimer’s. To learn more about this study read here.

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