Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio have recently found a bacterial byproduct that has made young mice learn better and negates cognitive decline in old mice. The bacterial byproduct was found on Easter Island, an island that is ~ 2000 miles from any centers of population and riddled with over 900 mysterious monolithic statues.
Rapamycin is the product produced in the mysterious bacteria (Streptomyces hygroscopic us) from Easter Island, which is traditionally deployed in transplant patients as an antifungal in attempt to help stop rejection. It is named after the Indonesian name for Easter Island, Rapa Nui. When researchers began adding this to the diet of both young and old mice, they noticed interesting results. In their pre-existing habitats, both young and old mice began demonstrating subjective symptoms of decreased anxiety and depression as well as objectively, increased levels of dopamine, norepinepherine and serotonin!! Moreover, mice classified with the human equivalent of Alzheimer’s were shown to increase in learning and memory. The investigators, have postulated that these changes are directly related to the increased quantity of available neurotransmitters, seemingly as a result of dosing with rapamycin.
Rapamycin acts, in transplant rejection, by inhibiting interleukin 2 (IL-2) response in t-cell and b-cells of the immune system. This immunological effect makes me wonder if the real reason why Rapamycin is so effective in the brain is the result of mitigating inflammation? In either case, we find this research to be extremely promising and look forward to the day when these medicines are refined enough to take for purposes of cognition enhancement.