Protein Active in Fetal Development May Also Protect Against Alzheimer’s in Late Life

A new study published yesterday inNature suggests that a protein thought to be a key element in the brains of fetuses during development may play a critical role in dementia in older people. The protein, known by the acronym REST, is severely depleted in the brains of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other dementias, but seems to offer protection against those disorders in healthy older adults….

“Whereas typical genetic investigations focus on genes and proteins that increase the risk of specific diseases, this study examines the role of a protective protein—REST—that appeared to reduce the risk of developing dementia in highly vulnerable older adults with multiple plaques and tangles in their brains….”

….the reported association of lithium with promoting REST activity may open new windows into our understanding and possible treatment of dementias. It may also shed new light on the cognitive impairment that is commonly seen in people with mood disorders.

–Psychiatric News Alert

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