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Simple and Low-Cost Frontline Treatment for Dementia, Study Shows

Patients with Alzheimer's disease may soon have a low-cost weapon in their arsenal.

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Japanese scientists develop a nasal spray that prevents and cures dementia and Alzheimer’s in mice. They believe it will work the same in humans and testing will begin soon

The development of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegenerative dementia may be halted thanks to a novel nasal spray, according to Japanese experts who claim to have successfully tested it.

The molecule is made up of rifampicin, a well-known low-cost generic antibiotic, and resveratrol, a nutritional supplement that is also affordable and well-tested for its health benefits.

The results of their preclinical testing with laboratory animals, conducted by a team of researchers from Osaka Metropolitan University, have been published in the prominent scientific journal Frontiers of Neuroscience.

How does it work

In previous studies, rifampicin was found to have positive characteristics in the prevention of the advancement of dementia caused by the buildup of amyloid oligomers, the brain poisons associated with neuronal illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease. Experiments have demonstrated that rifampicin has the ability to halt the advancement of related diseases.

Unfortunately, there is a side effect that, until recently, was thought to be inescapable and had effectively put an end to study into this substance: the antibiotic can have a negative impact on the liver, making it impossible to continue using it.

In 2018, Japanese scientists hypothesized that one strategy to offset this harmful impact would be to change the method of administration of the drug: instead of administering it orally, they would administer it via nasal spray instead. These experiments yielded promising results: they not only reduced the negative effects on the liver, but they also increased the good effects by increasing levels of the chemical in the brain. The patients’ cognitive abilities improved far more rapidly as a result of this experiment than in the previous.

For this latest formulation, the researchers looked for a component that might help mitigate the antibiotic’s harmful effects. They discovered it in resveratrol, a nutritional supplement. This substance is a natural polyphenol with numerous applications and a lengthy history, according to the researchers, demonstrating that it is safe, protects the body from other harms, and is also inexpensive.

Human trials

They claim that the outcome of their tests has been overwhelmingly positive. Throughout the testing, the level of liver enzymes remained steady. They also discovered that the synergy of the two elements “increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression were observed in the hippocampus, which was not seen with rifampicin alone,” according to the researchers. That means that resveratrol makes rifampicin work better at stopping dementias.

The study’s authors are so confident in the potential of their nasal spray that they have founded their own pharmaceutical firm, Medilabo RFP, to begin testing it in clinical trials with humans around the world “shortly.”

Image Credit: Getty

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