Common metabolic drug helps memory in mice

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A drug that has until now been prescribed to treat patients with a certain metabolic disorder has been found to improve the memory of laboratory animals with Alzheimer's disease, according to a recent report.

Sodium phenylbutyrate is commonly used to treat patients who experience an alteration in the urea cycle. Researchers discovered that the drug also helped certain proteins, which are responsible for neuron connections, fuse together, resulting in improved learning capacity of lab mice. Researchers at the Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA) at the University of Navarra are investigating which element of the drug is responsible for the beneficial effects.

Because sodium phenylbutyrate is already available for use, researchers suggest it could potentially be used to treat Alzheimer's and other dementia patients much sooner than other experimental drugs. The report was published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
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