Wondering whether we’ll suffer from severe cognitive decline is one of the biggest fears many of us face as we get older, especially if we’ve seen how heartbreaking it is for a loved one’s vibrant mind to slip away over the years. Now, scientists say they’ve found a chemical that may stop illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease from wreaking havoc on our brains.
A study published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry claims to have synthesized a new chemical compound that halts the degeneration of neurons linked to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other brain ailments. Researchers say the molecules are able to block the buildup of excess amyloids, which are one of the main causes of cognitive decline as we age.
“Our compounds activate the synthesis of specific heat shock proteins and cause their accumulation in the cell,” study author Irina Utepova explained. “Proteins of this type make it possible to protect neuronal tissue from an excess of toxic amyloids and to protect cells from various types of stress, including proteotoxic stress characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases.”
Their results were promising in cellular models of Alzheimer’s cases and traumatic brain injuries. The press release for the study noted that by 2050, it’s predicted there will be 115 million people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s across the globe. This new discovery might be the first step in making that a much smaller number.
Of course, a lot more research will need to be done in order to find out whether this can be applied to actual human brains. Still, it’s an incredibly hopeful outlook on preventing serious cognitive disorders as we age.
In the meantime, we can protect our brains by picking up healthy habits like sipping certain types of coffee, exercising daily, picking up meditation, and even remembering to brush our teeth on a regular basis.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.