As researchers work to find a cure for dementia in order to offer better options for dementia care, many are choosing to focus on preventative methods rather than an all-out cure.
Now, a new study has scientists looking in a rather unusual spot. Researchers from Arizona State University recently looked into honeybees and noticed they have the ability to turn back time when it comes to their aging brains.
The study's authors removed younger working bees from the nest, leaving behind only the queen and baby bees.
When the older bees returned to the nest, activity stopped for a few days. However, the older bees began searching for new chores to get things done. Some focused on searching for food, while others cared for the nest. The researchers noted that the older bees had improved their ability to learn new things.
The researchers also noted that proteins changed in the older bees' brains, including Prx6, a protein which is also found in humans and is known to help fight against dementia, and a chaperone protein that helps protects other proteins from being damaged when the brain is exposed to certain stressed.
While the researchers noted that this study could be used to help create a drug that could go toward dementia care, it could also be used as a way to promote the benefits of social interventions. The study's authors noted that if further studies suggest social interventions could have benefits in preventing dementia, it could be more helpful than waiting for a drug, as medications could face up to 30 years waiting for clinical trials.
"Maybe social interventions - changing how you deal with your surroundings - is something we can do today to help our brains stay younger," said lead researcher Gro Amdam. "Since the proteins being researched in people are the same proteins bees have, these proteins may be able to spontaneously respond to specific social experiences."
The need for dementia care is growing more prevalent within the U.S. According to the National Institutes of Health, home health caregivers should be on the lookout for early signs of the disease, as it could be easier to treat. Such early symptoms include changes in sleeping habits, hallucinations, forgetting details and withdrawing from social contact.
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