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Delaying Aging Process Alters Course Of Alzheimer’s Disease

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Aired 12/10/09

Researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla have found a way to slow the development of Alzheimer's disease in mice. Scientists hope the discovery could lead to new ways of dealing with the disease in humans.

— Researchers at the Salk Institute in La Jolla have found a way to slow the development of Alzheimer's disease in mice. Scientists hope the discovery could lead to new ways of dealing with the disease in humans.

Salk researchers wanted to see if they could influence the development of Alzheimer's disease in mice by slowing the aging process.

They manipulated one of the major genetic pathways that control metabolism and growth. Scientists found the targeted mice lived longer than normal mice, and didn't succumb to Alzheimer's until much later.

Salk professor Andrew Dillin says changing the pathway is key.

"It keeps the brain more youthful for a longer period of time, and prevents the onset of the disease," Dr. Dillin says. "So if there are ways that we can go in and modulate this pathway, then I think we'll give very beneficial effects for treating diseases like Alzheimer's."

Dillin says mice and humans share the same genetic pathway that affects aging.

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