There is a lot (potentially) to be excited about here:
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- U.S. researchers have found that use of a drug in mice appears to quickly reverse the pathological, cognitive and memory deficits caused by the onset of Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published online in journal Science on Thursday.
The results point to the significant potential that the medication, bexarotene, has to help the roughly 5.4 million Americans suffering from the progressive brain disease, the researchers said.
Bexarotene has been approved for the treatment of cancer by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for more than a decade. These experiments explored whether the medication might also be used to help patients with Alzheimer's disease, and the results were more than promising.
"This is a particularly exciting and rewarding study because of the new science we have discovered and the potential promise of a therapy for Alzheimer's disease," said [researcher Gary] Landreth. "Our next objective is to ascertain if it acts similarly in humans. We are at an early stage in translating this basic science discovery into a treatment."
One of the arguments raised against life extension in general is that, for many, a longer life potentially means a prolonged period of decrepitude for those suffering from degenerative diseases.
Of course, advocates of life extension want no such thing. Aubrey de Grey, for example, has made it clear that he is waging a war on aging itself. The key is to extend health and vitality. Making those qualities last longer even within the framework of current lifespans is an extremely valuable goal.
Making Alzheimer's treatable and perhaps even curable -- which are both a ways off, but this story is encouraging -- would effectively add years to many lives. Rather than having the people we know and love tragically fade away long before their hearts stop beating, we would be able to enjoy more time with them.
And, obviously, they would be able to experience and enjoy more of their lives. Like the man says: "Faster, please."
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