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Are there some things, which really get up your nose?

Well this may be one thing you do want to put up there: a nasal spray capable of protecting your brain from Alzheimer’s disease or stroke.

And before you dismiss that notion as being ridiculous and from “la-la land”, it appears that researchers from Tel Aviv University may be onto something completely novel; a way of effectively preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease delivering medication via a nasal spray.

This is a story reminiscent of the story of Viagra. The treatment for erectile dysfunction started life as a medication being developed for men with chest pain.
In this case the nasal spray was being developed as a treatment for influenza. The medical scientists were looking to induce an immune response vs. influenza and what they found was that the vaccine, caused the body to activate part of its defence mechanism against viral and other invaders, called macrophages. These macrophages act as large vacuum cleaners gobbling up unwanted proteins such as amyloid from the brain’s blood vessels. Amyloid can build up in the brain and is a pathological finding commonly found in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s disease. In animal studies, once these amyloid proteins had been cleared, then further damage to the brain could be prevented and existing damage repaired.

This means that it may be possible to repair the damage to a brain from a previous stroke and to be able to effectively treat people already experiencing symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Previous studies into Alzheimer’s disease have looked at using an immune mediated approach using anti-inflammatory medications and steroids.

Here the immune response being induced is preventing small bleeds causing stroke, which can cause permanent brain damage and contribute to vascular dementia.

The next stage is to look at clinical trials.

So far the animal studies have shown no toxic side effects and fMRI scans on the mice confirmed the effectiveness of the vaccine in returning those mice with cognitive impairment to normal behaviour.

If the drug is found to produce the same effect in humans, this means there may be a simple way of treating up to 80% of those with Alzheimer’s dementia.

Wow, the findings from this study imply we could be looking at a possible breakthrough for a vaccine to guard against and an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s.
Something simple, hopefully inexpensive and literally brain saving.

One small spray for your brain, one giant water cannon of hope for many minds.

Ref: Dr D. Frankel. Tel Aviv Department of Neurobiology Press release

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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