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Old Drug shows Potential for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s Treatment

Methylene blue, a century-old drug, is found to address mitochondrial dysfunction—a common condition in age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

A paper on methylene blue study, conducted by researchers from Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, shows that methylene blue, when used at a very low concentration, slows cellular aging and enhances mitochondrial function, which potentially allows those with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s to live longer, healthier lives.

“One of the key aspects of Alzheimer’s disease is mitochondrial dysfunction, specifically complex IV dysfunction, which methylene blue improves,”said Hani Atamna, PhD, lead study researcher. “Our findings indicate that methylene blue, by enhancing mitochondrial function, expands the mitochondrial reserve of the brain. Adequate mitochondrial reserve is essential for preventing age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease:”

Methylene blue was first discovered in 1891 and is now being used as treatment for methemoglobinemia, a blood disorder. However, since high concentration of methylene blue was initially found dangerous to the brain, there were no other studies to prove the efficacy of the said drug in low concentrations. The research study of Dr. Atamna and his team is the first of its kind to explore the potential of low concentrations of methylene in slowing down cellular aging.

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