“Controlling the level of a fatty acid in the brain could help treat Alzheimer’s disease, an American study has suggested. Tests on mice showed that reducing excess levels of the acid lessened animals’ memory problems and behavioural changes. Writing in Nature Neuroscience, the team said fatty acid levels could be controlled through diet or drugs. A UK Alzheimer’s expert called the work “robust and exciting”. There are currently 700,000 people living with dementia in the UK, but that number is forecast to double within a generation.

Scientists from Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and the University of California looked at fatty acids in the brains of normal mice and compared them with those in mice genetically engineered to have an Alzheimer’s-like condition. They identified raised levels of a fatty acid called arachidonic acid in the brains of the Alzheimer’s mice. Its release is controlled by the PLA2 enzyme. The scientists again used genetic engineering to lower PLA2 levels in the animals, and found that even a partial reduction halted memory deterioration and other impairments.”

(via BBC News)