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Overactivation of proteins known as calpains, which are involved in memory formation, has been linked to Alzheimer disease. Ottavio Arancio and colleagues, at Columbia University, New York, have now shown that two different drugs that inhibit calpains can improve memory in a mouse model of Alzheimer disease (APP/PS1 mice), leading them to suggest drugs that target calpains might stop or slow down the memory loss that occurs as Alzheimer disease progresses.
It is thought that dysfunctional signaling between nerve cells contributes to the impaired cognition experienced by individuals with Alzheimer disease.