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A group of young researchers may have found the elusive chemical that could one day lead a cure for Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and a variety of other neurodegenerative disorders. That chemical, an ingredient called pyrrolidone, is found in the brains and bodies of certain animals, including pigs, sheep, and chickens, and it may be a factor in how these animals deal with stress.
Pyrrolidone was first found in humans in a mouse study by a group of researchers in China’s Xiamen University in 2008—and the chemicals had only been identified in animal brains and blood after researchers first discovered them in the human body in the late 1980s. And although more research isn’t needed to see if the chemical can prevent the kinds of negative impacts that cause Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative ailments, scientists are still working hard on that goal.
If Pyrrolidone Can Change Human Brain Behavior and Enhance Memory
What’s really exciting about this study is that one of the key chemicals in the brain, called glutamate, is thought to be the underlying cause of memory loss in Alzheimer’s. In a 2007 report, the American Philosophical Society noted that “the accumulation of amyloid beta peptide (Aβ peptide) plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, accompanied by progressive cognitive decline, is thought to result from the loss of glutamate in the brains of these patients.”
Other scientists think that a chemical found in animals called pyrrolidone has also been linked to the cognitive decline and amyloid plaque buildup in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as the accumulation of amyloid in the brains of people with Parkinson’s disease. What can be shown that pyrrolidone can do to enhance memory?
The researchers looked at the effects of pyrrolidone on two populations of rats—one treated with the drug and one not—to see if it could improve memory, memory recall, and learning ability.
The results from the first group of animals showed that the pyrrolidone-treated rats learned just as well as the unexposed rats—which is a very encouraging sign for the potential as
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