Love Wins: Alzheimer’s May Be Reversed with Oxytocin, Study Says
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What is oxytocin?
Popularly known as the ‘love hormone,’ oxytocin is naturally produced by our pituitary gland. This hormone is crucial for the female reproductive system, but we all experience its effects daily.
Happiness, excitement, love? They all come along with oxytocin.
As a bonus, oxytocin can also boost memory and learning abilities in the long run.
Oxytocin may reverse Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder which degenerates neurons and the connections between them. In time, the disease leads to severe memory loss, poor motor skills and major communication problems.
A certain neuron skill called ‘synaptic plasticity’ is particularly affected. This trait helps your neurons adapt to an increase or decrease of the brain activity; it helps you learn, master new skills and develop memories.
Furthermore, Alzheimer’s patients’ neurons become surrounded by a protein called amyloid beta; in large quantities, this protein triggers neuronal degeneration and affects their normal activity.
When scientists added oxytocin to the brains of mice, they found that neuron functionality improved significantly. However, oxytocin doesn’t impact synaptic plasticity in any way; instead, it seems to reverse the brain damage cause by the amyloid beta protein.
Love can be the answer
According to professor Akiyoshi Saitoh, leader of the scientists team at the Tokyo University of Science, ‘this is the first study in the world that has shown that oxytocin can reverse Aβ-induced impairments in the mouse hippocampus.’
As always, there’s still a long way to go before developing an actual treatment for Alzheimer’s patients worldwide. Even so, it is a major success that can only increase our oxytocin levels, right?