Tuesday, October 23, 2007

That which makes jellyfish glow in the deep...

May save your aging brain. Since I wrote this article over a year ago, Quincy Bioscience has brought Prevagen to market as an over-the-counter supplement to light up your faltering circuits. I will have samples in the office soon and plan to try it myself. Read on for more information.

After all, have you ever seen a demented jellyfish? The phosphorescent protein that lights up their quivering goo has a potent neuroprotective effect, at least in doddering old rats. Here's why it may light up your intellect as well.

Calcium is, as we know, a good thing. In particular, it holds up our joints and activates our nerves. When neurons are stimulated by a passing impulse via a transmitting molecule called glutamate, they open up their pores and let the calcium trickle in. Not pour in, mind you, just trickle. If they get over-goosed with glutamate, a situation called excitoxicity, too much calcium enters the cells which upsets it unto death.

Enter aequorin. Scientists have long called on the jellyfish protein as a 'calcium reporter.' In other words, add aequorin to a cell preparation in a laboratory, the aequorin hooks up with the calcium, and bingo! that which is calcium-laden within the cell lights up like a jellyfish.

Mark Underwood of Quincy Bioscience figured out that giving aequorin to rats through the golden months of their lives helped them hang onto the ability to perform tricks despite their advancing age. Rats normally get less tricky as they age because they lose their calcium-binding proteins, allowing free calcium to ravage their brains, which lets the tricks leak out. But rats plus jellyfish protein equals peak performance at mazes and bells throughout the lifespan.

Think about what we could accomplish with a little bread and jellyfish!


rlbates said...

Or even better--a PBJ (peanut butter and jellyfish) on whole wheat bread. :)

dorsey said...

Okay, put me on the hotline list. I need about fifty samples, for me and siblings. thanks

Jean said...

This doddering old rat wants to try it:) - if it's available in Canada. Wonder if it's of any help post-diagnosis? Any literature on that?

Femail doc said...

RLB: I think jellyfish are so creepy the very thought of such a sandwich makes my skin crawl.

Dorsey: Dude, you finally figured out how to post a comment. Perhaps you don't need any supplements for your brain after all! Seriously though, come get some jellyfish pills when they're here. Prevagen exec tells me they're in the mail!

Jean: It's available over the internet at www.prevagen.com. Shoot, can't hurt might help those neurons not yet taken down by Alzheimer's; maybe you both could try it!