Photo: Easter Island and Alzheimers
Researchers are wondering if Easter Island holds the keys to solving the mysteries of Alzheimer’s due in great part to the ‘rapamycin’ bacteria found there.
Easter Island is a World Heritage Site and known for the 900 famous monolithic heads known as ‘moai’. It was a special territory of Chile that was annexed in 1888, lying approximately 2,180 miles west of this Latin America country.
According to a press release from the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center “Rapamycin, a bacterial product first isolated from soil on Easter Island, enhanced learning and memory in young mice and improved these faculties in old mice.” Apparently the drug also lowered anxiety and depressive-like behavior in the mice.
Rapamycin is currently used as an antifungal agent administered to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. The drug is named for Rapa Nui, the Polynesian title for Easter Island.
This study became available online June 28 as a manuscript in press in the journal Neuroscience.