Good News: a drug to reverse the effects of aging and Alzheimer’s

In new research from Rockefeller Univ., described in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers found that the drug “riluzole is capable of reversing key genetic changes” in the hippocampus associated with Alzheimer’s. (Author: A C Pereira, et al.)

As we age, neurons make less and less of the transporter molecule that is responsible for removing excess glutamate, a neurotransmitter. Glutamate then begins to accumulate between the neurons and kill them, contributing to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Riluzole is “known to modulate glutamate” by increasing the activity of the aged genes to resemble their more youthful levels. Riluzole also “restored genes critical for neural communication and plasticity, both of which decline with aging and, even more significantly, in Alzheimer’s disease.” In addition to these effects, riluzole is considered to be a safe potential treatment for humans (it is already used for ALS patients), and is currently being tested on Alzheimer’s patients in a clinical trial at Rochester U. Hospital.

Reversing Alzheimer’s and restoring genes to their youthful levels–what could be better?