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Cold Water Baths May Protect Brain Against Dementia

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Researchers observing swimmers who regularly exercise in cold water have found that they have elevated levels of the “cold shock” protein RBM3. The Daily Mail reports.

Updating this protein in the body’s bloodstream is a good thing because it restores vital connections in the brain, preventing aging for a long time.

Scientists at the University of Cambridge, who have studied in detail the link between dementia and the “cold shock” protein, say their research shows that a drug that can trigger the production of this protein can prevent the onset of dementia for years.

Professor Giovanna Mallucci, who led the research project, warned that immersion in cold water is certainly not a possible treatment for dementia, because the risks of a sharp drop in temperature can far outweigh the benefits. Hypothermia can cause shutdown of vital organs and irregular heartbeat, putting patients at risk of death.

She said the mission is to find a drug that can trigger the production of this protein and protect the brain. 

if you slowed the progress of dementia by even a couple of years on a whole population, that would have an enormous impact economically and health-wise,” said Professor Mallucci.

The “cold shock” protein was identified in 2015. Then, ordinary mice and mice suffering from dementia or prion disease (proteins in the brain cause irreversible damage to the organ) were cooled to 16-18 ° C for 45 minutes. The scientists found that RBM3 levels were elevated in normal mice and allowed them to repair synapses, suggesting a key role for the protein. However, in mice with Alzheimer’s and prion disease, they were unable to achieve the same result.

The scientists said their work, published in the journal Nature, suggests the protein could be used to slow the progression of dementia. But further testing is needed to prove that these results will also work effectively in humans.

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