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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Mysterious bacteria found in soil near Easter Island statues could offer cure for Alzheimers

A natural drug discovered in the soil of Easter Island could improve the memory of older people - and even treat Alzheimer's, researchers say.

In tests in mice, the drug halted the decline in brain function as they got older, and offered hope that it could also treat depression.

The drug - rapamycin - is a bacterial by-product discovered in the shadows of the island's famous statues.

It is named after Rapa Nui, the Polynesian name for Easter Island, which sits isolated in the Pacific ocean - 2000 miles from anywhere.

It is already used in transplant patients to prevent organ rejection and now scientists in journal Neuroscience say it can improve learning and help treat cognitive decline.

It could even treat conditions like Alzheimer's, they believe. Read More