Common Acne Treatment Stops Blindness in Animal Model

Administering Accutane, a drug commonly used to treat acne, UCLA researchers have successfully stopped the accumulation of toxic pigments in the eyes of animals with a genetic defect similar to Stargardt’s macular degeneration. The UCLA team gave a daily injection of Accutane to mimic the effect of constant light deprivation and the results proved dramatic. These toxic pigments, called lipofuscin, are responsible for the visual loss in patients with Stargardt’s disease.

Pain killers may dissolve Alzheimer's disease plaques

In a breakthrough study, scientists have found that common painkillers such as ibuprofen and naproxen may actually dissolve the brain lesions — or amyloid plaques — that are one of the definitive hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings are reported in the March 31 issue of Neuroscience. Principal investigator Jorge R. Barrio, professor of molecular and medical pharmacology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has used FDDNP, a new chemical marker developed in his laboratory at UCLA, to visually zero in on the brain lesions present in Alzheimer’s disease. He discovered that common over-the-counter pain medications — known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — bind to amyloid plaques, and may help dissolve existing plaques and prevent the formation of new ones.

Geneticists Find Location of Major Gene in ADHD; Also Linked to Autism

Researchers in Los Angeles have localized a region on chromosome 16 that is likely to contain a risk gene for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, the most prevalent childhood-onset psychiatric disorder. The scientists say their finding suggest that the suspected risk gene may contribute as much as 30 percent of the underlying genetic cause of ADHD and may also be involved in a separate childhood onset disorder, autism.

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