A just-released study by UT Health San Antonio and collaborating institutions shows age-related decreases in blood flow to the brain and memory loss can be modified with the drug rapamycin.
This finding, if furthered, holds implications for aging in general and perhaps offers an avenue to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia in some people, said research first author Candice Van Skike, Ph.D., of UT Health San Antonio.
In the study, published Nov. 6 in the journal Aging Cell, researchers began rats on a diet including low-dose rapamycin at 19 months old (past middle age in rat years). Rapamycin treatment in daily food continued until the mice were of advanced age—34 months old—almost double the age they were when they started treatment. “Essentially this is as old as these rats can get. These animals were very old but still, blood circulation in the brain was exactly the same as when they started treatment,” said study senior author Veronica Galvan, Ph.D., professor of cellular and integrative physiology at UT Health San Antonio. She is a researcher with the university’s Sam and Ann Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies and Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases.