In a scene from the Korean movie, "A Moment to Remember," a young woman suffering from Alzheimer's can't find her way home, due to memory loss brought on by the disease, which doesn't just steal one's memory, but is fatal and incurable.
But now, a Korean research team has discovered the source of what leads to the loss of memory in Alzheimer's, which is raising hopes of opening a new chapter in the development of treatments.
The cause of the impairment, researchers say, lies in the so-called reactive astrocytes that develop once the brain is affected by the disease.
Astrocytes are the most abundant cell type in the brain, and reactive astrocytes produce an acid called gamma-Aminobutyric, or GABA.
They found that these acids in affected mice began to produce abnormally large amounts of GABA.
An experiment showed that mice that were injected with an inhibitor called Selegiline, which suppresses the generation of GABA, regained their memories.
However, after more than two weeks during which the injections were administered, the effects disappeared, which calls for the next step in the research process.
"We've found that the effects of Selegiline grow weaker when it is taken in for a long time. We are currently working on the development of three kinds of MAO-B inhibitors with long-lasting efficacy."
The research, supported by the Korea Institute of Science and Technology, has been published in the highly cited medical journal Nature Medicine.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.