Monday, November 07, 2005

Good News   posted by Fly @ 11/07/2005 02:06:00 PM

UCLA scientists use statins to overcome learning disabilities in mice

“In a surprise twist that recalls the film classic "Flowers for Algernon," but adds a happy ending, UCLA scientists used statins, a popular class of cholesterol drugs, to reverse the attention deficits linked to the leading genetic cause of learning disabilities. The Nov. 8 issue of Current Biology reports the findings, which were studied in mice bred to develop the disease, called neurofibromatosis 1 (NF1).

The results proved so hopeful, that the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of the drugs in three clinical trials currently under review to test the effect of statins in children and adults born with NF1. The findings could help the estimated 35 million Americans who struggle with learning disabilities.”

"This is mind-blowing – we think we have a real fundamental reason to be optimistic," explained Silva. "Here is a drug that affects a key learning and memory pathway, and completely rescues the most common genetic cause for learning disabilities. We don't have to do extensive clinical trials for toxicity or safety – these were already completed for other uses."
"NF1 afflicts one in 4,000 people, about one million people worldwide."

I don't know where they get the estimate of possibly helping 35 million Americans, but even if it ONLY helps one million people, it is good news.