A “New” Theory about Reversing Cognitive Decline

UC San Francisco scientists have released a study in the open access journal eLife showing the ability of a new ISR (Integrated Stress Response) Inhibitor known as ISRIB to restore youthful cognitive abilities in aged mice. This is accomplished by a rejuvenation of brain and immune cells. 

“The drug, called ISRIB, has already been shown in laboratory studies to restore memory function (in mice) months after traumatic brain injury (TBI), reverse cognitive impairments in Down Syndrome , prevent noise-related hearing loss, fight certain types of prostate cancer, and even enhance cognition in healthy animals.”

A discussion of this research is in Medical Xpress.  “The data suggest that the aged brain has not permanently lost essential cognitive capacities, as was commonly assumed, but rather that these cognitive resources are still there but have been somehow blocked, trapped by a vicious cycle of cellular stress,” added Peter Walter , Ph.D., a professor in the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. “Our work with ISRIB demonstrates a way to break that cycle and restore cognitive abilities that had become walled off over time.”

This would support the notion that cognitive impairment can be reversed by reducing the causes of cellular stress.  While there may be a medication down the road, programs like the one offered at Apollo Health using the Bredesen Protocol are achieving remarkably similar results using functional approaches.