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Old Medicine May Have New Role in Alzheimer's

  • Art Chimes

Immune globulin - also called gamma globulin - may help restore the brain's ability to rewire itself.

Immune globulin shows promise in lab mice

A new study in laboratory animals suggests a promising new avenue for treating Alzheimer's Disease.

The mice in this research were given a medicine that's been around for decades.

Immune globulin - also called gamma globulin - is made from purified blood plasma and is normally used to boost the immune system.

Recently, scientists have been exploring its potential as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.

The results of these immune globulin experiments have been inconsistent. Researcher Giulio Maria Pasinetti, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and his colleagues thought these inconsistent results were due to variations in how the immune globulin was administered. So they gave their lab mice very small doses intravenously over four weeks.

Researchers say they saw a dramatic slowdown in the animals' cognitive deterioration.

Pasinetti says the treatment increases certain immune system components called anaphylotoxins, which may help restore plasticity, the ability of the brain to, in effect, rewire itself as needed. It may also have a role in reducing the beta amyloid protein deposits in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer's Disease.

The results of Giulio Pasinetti's study were presented at a scientific meeting called Experimental Biology 2012 in San Diego, California.

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