Scientists ID regulatory protein that might protect brain from dementia

Harvard University researchers have found that a regulatory protein known as REST may protect against the effects of beta amyloid and tau protein accumulation. REST, which was found to be deficient in patients with Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive impairments, blocks genes involved in apoptosis, protecting neurons from stress. In a mouse experiment, subjects lacking the REST gene were more prone to age-related stress and had fewer neurons in the forebrain cortex, but restoring the genes in mice protected animals against cognitive decline. Study details appear in the journal Nature.

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