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Medical Roundup

January 7, 2016

Slowing Alzheimer’s disease by cleansing the brain of toxic proteins; also, new findings on a sweet-tooth hormone.

Transcript

Proteaosome_1fnt_top Thomas Splettstoesser CC BY-SA 3.0

Top view of the structure of a proteasome. (Thomas Splettstoesser/CC BY-SA 3.0)

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In Alzheimer’s disease, tangles of damaged proteins become toxic and kill brain cells. Cell structures called proteasomes work to get rid of these damaged proteins. In the journal Nature Medicine, Columbia University scientists report that a drug that boosts the activity of proteasomes in mice cleared out protein tangles and slowed the spread of disease. The researchers look to develop similar drugs for human use.

In other research news, your sweet tooth may emanate from your liver. Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center report in the journal Cell Metabolism that a liver hormone called FGF21 may lead to sugar and alcohol cravings. The scientists are evaluating different forms of FGF21 for the treatment of obesity, Type 2 diabetes and alcoholism. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.