“There’s preliminary work within the discipline that’s emerged only recently, significantly in animal fashions, suggesting that cannabis compounds can reverse mind pathology and cognitive impairments,” says McDonald. “We’re actually interested by attempting to forestall that descent into neurodegeneration and dementia as a result of as soon as the mind has modified, it’s very exhausting to carry it again. If we are able to forestall or delay that descent into dementia, that’s actually the aim.”
He believes new options might be wanted for Alzheimer’s because the child boomer technology gets nearer to the age the place the illness turns into extra prevalent.
It at present impacts round 500,000 individuals in Canada, however a decade from now, they may enhance to practically 940,000.
McDonald says cannabis compounds seem to goal a number of pathologies discovered within the illness and that the compounds are “obtainable, cheap, and comparatively protected for human consumption.”
“We’re simply on the tip of the iceberg of understanding the cannabinoids, how complicated they’re, and what results they could have on the mind and the physique.”
While the compounds are displaying promise, he’s urging in opposition to individuals beginning to use cannabis particularly for this goal. Quite a bit of work nonetheless wants to be achieved to decide the right mixture of compounds, the doses required, the size of therapies, and who these therapies could be acceptable for.
At the identical time this experiment is occurring, one other will look into how to observe and cease irregular proteins from spreading harm within the mind.
Dr. Robert Sutherland and his workforce at CCBN will workforce up with researchers on the University of Alberta to inject mice with irregular proteins and observing how they unfold by way of the mind.
“We’re primarily wanting on the cortex since that’s the place tons of reminiscence and cognitive exercise takes place,” says Sutherland. “We can measure how the mind exercise modifications as these irregular proteins creep into circuits within the cortex. We’ll periodically assess the animal’s reminiscence means to see the second when reminiscence breaks down in these animals and what’s precisely taking place within the cortex when that breakdown happens.”
Once they’ve a greater understanding of how unfold happens and the way this impacts mind operate, they plan to take a look at other ways to block the unfold.
One of these is to modify microglial cells, that are primarily the “front-line protection” when issues go mistaken in your physique. Sometimes, when these cells get overwhelmed, they spit the dangerous proteins in several instructions as a substitute of attempting to destroy them.
Sutherland needs to know if these cells could also be contributing to the unfold of dangerous proteins, and in that case, whether or not decreasing their exercise would possibly forestall spreading.