A new study in laboratory animals suggests a promising new avenue for treating Alzheimer's Disease. They were given a medicine that's been around for decades.
Immune globulin, or gamma globulin, is made from purified blood plasma and is normally used to boost the immune system.
Recently, scientists have been exploring its potential as a treatment for Alzheimer's Disease.
The results of these immune globulin experiments have been inconsistent. Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York thought these inconsistent results were due to variations in how the immune globulin was administered. So they gave their lab mice very small doses intravenously over four weeks.
Researchers say they saw a dramatic slowdown in the animals' cognitive deterioration.
The treatment increases certain immune system components, which may help restore plasticity, the ability of the brain to rewire itself as needed. It may also have a role in reducing the beta amyloid protein deposits in the brain that are characteristic of Alzheimer's Disease.
The results of the study were presented at a scientific meeting called Experimental Biology 2012 in San Diego, California.