Mouse study: Memory loss from Alzheimer's can be reversed

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Once again, mice are leading the way to greater understanding of Alzheimer's disease. A new study involving the furry creatures revealed that memory loss due to Alzheimer's can be reversed.

Researchers bred them to develop a progressive dementia similar to Alzheimer's. The mice contained a gene that could be "turned off." When production of tau protein was "turned off," the mice's memory improved. Tau protein is an abnormality that forms on nerve cells of Alzheimer's patients. It is believed to be responsible for nerve cell death and dementia.

If the same function could be duplicated in humans, it could be possible to recover mental function in the early stages of Alzheimer's, according to Karen Ashe and colleagues writing in the journal Science.