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Effective therapy for Huntington's disease

An acid found naturally in the body can block the death of brain cells in mice who have Huntington's disease. There is no cure for Huntington's disease (HD), which is a rare degenerative brain disorder //caused by a faulty gene. But researchers at the University of Texas may be one step closer to a treatment, according to experiments on mice with HD.

The mice were treated with a bile acid known as tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), which is produced naturally in the liver. This compound is unusual in being able to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The experiments showed how it protected the cells in the part of the brain affected by HD. This opens up the possibility of a cure for not just HD, but also other neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. A related compound, known as ursodeoxycholic acid is already approved for the treatment of liver disease. But the neuroprotective aspect of bile acids is a surprising application.


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