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Innovative methods of treating Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases

Despite the nickname “good cholesterol” for its cardiovascular benefits, very high levels of HDL cholesterol are associated with as much as a 42 per cent increase in the risk of dementia in older adults (when studied in people aged 75 or older). Overall, anyone with high HDL cholesterol had a 27% increased risk of dementia. For a study conducted at Australia’s Monash University, a very high HDL level was considered 80 mg/dl or more.

Scientists at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at the University of California have discovered a rare gene mutation that may halve the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. It is a variant of a microprotein called SHLP2, which is extremely rare and occurs only in people of European descent. However, research on it may open new possibilities for treating that disease.

The work of scientists from the Rockefeller Institute for Neuroscience at West Virginia University has discovered a way to make Alzheimer’s drugs reach the brain faster by temporarily bypassing the blood-brain barrier. An innovative experiment improves the removal of amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers used a focused ultrasound technology- injecting microscopic bubbles into the bloodstream and sending sound waves through a helmet-like device to a specific brain area. Energy pulses vibrate microbubbles and loosen gaps in the blood-brain barrier enough for drugs to enter the patient’s brain.

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