Jellyfish Protein May Improve Memory, Cognition
What do jellyfish and your brain have in common? Scientists at the 2010 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Honolulu report that the jellyfish protein apoaequorin may improve cognitive function in people who have memory problems.
Previous research shows that proteins that bind with calcium are essential for the proper functioning of the human brain. Experts also know that levels of these calcium-binding proteins decline with age as well as in individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, these proteins help protect the neurons in the brain and brain function.
In a recent randomized, placebo-controlled study commissioned by Quincy BioScience, scientists administered either apoaequorin or placebo to 35 adults (average age, 61 years) who had memory concerns. After 60 days, the adults who had taken the jellyfish protein showed a 14 percent improvement in cognitive testing scores when compared with those who took placebo.
According to Mark Underwood, president and co-founder of Quincy Bioscience, the jellyfish proteins “work by buffering intracellular calcium and slowing down a variety of events that can lead to neurotoxicity,” which can result in cognitive decline, including memory loss.
Bioscience, which recently announced a successful application for patent protection on the jellyfish-derived protein, also plans to conduct further research to develop pharmaceutical products for specific diseases related to calcium imbalance, such as Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions that involve memory problems. The company is planning a future trial to include diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients.
Underwood believes that given the growing baby boomer population, “there is an enormous need for products to help support brain health.” He and the company hope that jellyfish proteins hold much promise for preventing and treating memory loss and other cognitive challenges.
Quincy Bioscience news release, July 13, 2010