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A two-week course of high doses of CBD helps restore the function of two proteins key to reducing the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and improves cognition in an experimental model of early onset familial Alzheimer’s, investigators report.
The DCG and MCG investigators decided to look at CBD’s ability to address some of the key brain systems that go awry in Alzheimer’s.
The investigators report for the first time that CBD normalizes levels and function, improving cognition as it also reduces levels of the immune protein IL-6, which is associated with the high inflammation levels found in Alzheimer’s, says Dr. Babak Baban, immunologist and associate dean for research in the Dental College of Georgia and the study’s corresponding author.
Both are essential to a natural, ongoing housekeeping process in the brain called phagocytosis, in which microglial cells regularly consume beta amyloid, which is regularly produced in the brain, the result of the breakdown of amyloid-beta precursor protein, which is important to the synapses, or connection points, between neurons, and which the plaque interrupts.
“Right now we have two classes of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s,” says Dr. John Morgan, neurologist and director of the Movement and Memory Disorder Programs in the MCG Department of Neurology. One class increases levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which also are decreased in Alzheimer’s, and another works through the NMDA receptors involved in communication between neurons and important to memory. “But we have nothing that gets to the pathophysiology of the disease,” says Morgan, a study coauthor.