We are constantly bombarded with news of ineffective medical “breakthroughs” based on flawed and unethical animal experiments, the vast majority of which never pan out.
Today's newsletter reports on several interesting medical discoveries that actually deliver concrete information because they are based on sound and solid human findings and not animal experiments.
In a surprising outcome, researchers discovered that common vaccines, like flu and tetanus, confer immunity to the body that appears to reduce the formation of brain plaques that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. In another study, scientists developed a 3D human cellular model of Alzheimer’s that showed how a specific immune cell leads to neuroinflammation.
Another study showed how aromatherapy during sleep led to a 226% increase in cognitive performance for study participants, while a new heart model made from human cells is revealing unprecedented insights for cardiac medicine. Ethical human research like this far exceeds results from invasive and painful experiments on animals.
Several vaccines associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease in adults 65 and older
Scientists at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston gained valuable insights into the impact of vaccines on Alzheimer’s by studying existing data on humans.
They analyzed data using propensity score matching from a retrospective cohort of adults over 65 years of age and compared patients based on their vaccination history and whether they had or developed dementia. Interestingly, they found that vaccinated patients had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The research applied to several vaccines, including pneumonia, herpes zoster (shingles) and tetanus/diptheria.
This study follows a previous human-based one that found that people who received at least one influenza vaccine had a 40% decreased chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
According to Avram Bukhbinder, MD, “We hypothesize that the reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease associated with vaccines is likely due to a combination of mechanisms. Vaccines may change how the immune system responds to the build-up of toxic proteins that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, such as by enhancing the efficiency of immune cells at clearing the toxic proteins or by ‘honing’ the immune response to these proteins so that ‘collateral damage’ to nearby healthy brain cells is decreased.”
3D human-cell model reveal insights into how immune cells contribute to Alzheimer's disease
Scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital developed a human cell-based 3D model for studying Alzheimer’s disease. Because it is derived from human cells, it provides scientists with an accurate and ethical way of studying diseases, as opposed to cruel and outdated animal experiments.
Using the models they found that as Alzheimer’s progresses, a specific type of immune cell floods the brain, causing neuroinflammation. Additionally, they identified a key pathway for this infiltration and blocked it in the models, which prevented neurodegeneration.
Future studies are needed, but these human-relevant insights could pave the way for therapeutics that could slow or halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sweet smell of success: Simple fragrance method produces major memory boost
Scientists have long known that there is a connection between smell and memory, and in a new human-based study from the University of California, Irvine, scientists discovered that aromatherapy boosted memory.
Participants between the ages of 60 and 85 without memory impairment were given a diffuser and seven cartridges with a different natural oil. Controls were given a tiny amount of oil while the enriched group received full-strength cartridges. The diffuser emitted the aroma for a duration of 2 hours each night over six months.
Researchers noted that the enriched group exhibited a 226% increase in cognitive performance, showed better integrity in a relevant brain pathway through brain imaging, and slept better.
Tiny Heart Model Revolutionizes Drug Testing, Cardiovascular Care
New advancements in human-based heart models may usher in a “new chapter in human physiology”, according to lead author Dr. Yaakov Nahmias from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The model, derived from human stem cells, includes multiple chambers, an epicardial membrane, and an endocardial lining. This meticulously designed model, the size of a grain of rice, will provide scientists with real-time measurements of heart parameters such as oxygen consumption, extracellular field potential, and cardiac contraction.
This advanced model can revolutionize heart-related drug and disease research. Already, scientists have discovered a new form of cardiac arrhythmia using this model, that was not evident in inapplicable animal experiments.
Citizens for Alternatives to Animal Research & Experiments (CAARE), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, established to highlight and promote research without animals.
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