A new study conducted by researchers at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland shows that a century-old drug, methylene blue, may be able to slow or even cure Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Used at a very low concentration - about the equivalent of a few raindrops in four Olympic-sized swimming pools of water - the drug slows cellular aging and enhances mitochondrial function, potentially allowing those with the diseases to live longer, healthier lives.
|A century-old drug, methylene blue, has been found to slow cellular aging and enhances mitochondrial function, potentially allowing those with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's to live longer, healthier lives.
A paper on the methylene blue study, conducted by Hani Atamna, PhD, and a his team at Children's, was published in the March 2008 issue of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Journal
. Dr. Atamna's research found that methylene blue can prevent or slow the decline of mitochondrial function, specifically an important enzyme called complex IV. Because mitochondria are the principal suppliers of energy to all animal and human cells, their healthy function is critical.
"The results are very encouraging," said Dr. Atamna. "We'd eventually like to try to prevent the physical and cognitive decline associated with aging, with a focus on people with Alzheimer's disease. One of the key aspects of Alzheimer's disease is mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically complex IV dysfunction, which methylene blue improves. Our findings indicate that methylene blue, by enhancing mitochondrial function, expands the mitochondrial reserve of the brain. Adequate mitochondrial reserve is essential for preventing age-related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease."