New research suggests that prions, the infectious agents of infectious diseases, may influence aging, possibly slowing down the rate of brain aging.
Many people worldwide report memory problems as a result of an infectious disease, and in one field in western Australia there have been numerous prion-related deaths. By analyzing information from the Queensland, Australian and New Zealand clinical databases, researchers identified prion ages at which cognitive decline was evaluated, lowered cognition and other diseases, including dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
“In Cade Park, New South Wales, the brains were investigated where we found traces of prion lysates and neurofibrillary tangles from disease-relevant animals,” said Nimmer. “We also did a further analysis, looking at the age of infection-relevant animals, looking at the chain of causation, looking at which factors correlated with cognition.
“By using a combined approach using statistics, we could see if there was a relationship between the age of the prion-relevant animals and cognition.”