The memory of the nose has been highlighted by French researchers from CNRS. Hope for Alzheimer’s and amnesia.

The nose has a good memory, as everyone knows. A smell of chalk suddenly reminds memories of early school years, a fleeting scent captured in an anonymous crowd suddenly evokes a love story gone. Each, as Marcel Proust and his little Madeleine , saw resurface from the depths of his personal history, memories he thought lost forever. With a simple nasal transplant, researchers will perhaps one day to patients with Alzheimer’s disease to go in search of their lost time. This gives hope to the elderly, and patients who suffer from post-traumatic amnesia or post-ischemic (after stopping a good supply to the brain).

Researchers from Marseille and Montpelier

Scientists of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), working in the universities of Montpelier and Marseille, in association with physicians CHU Nord Marseille have proven with mice the role of smell in the restaurant memory.

Stem cells.

They found that human stem cells, extracted from tissue immune from the nose, allowed amnesic mice provide a source of cells capable of treating brain disorders: nerve cells replace destroyed or damaged irreversibly. Their results were published in the journal Clinical Investigation , Thursday, June 23.


A pre-clinical study.

A pre-clinical study has analyzed the effects of stem cell transplantation in human nasal brain or cerebration fluid of mice rendered amnesiac. Four weeks after transplantation, behavioral tests showed that the transplanted mice had regained some of their ability to learn and memorize the position of an object and associate a reward with an odor.

Similar scores

Better yet, the transplanted mice were able to achieve scores similar to those observed in non-injured animals, whereas mice treated with amnesic but not stem cells proved unable to carry out the learning and memory .

Towards human trials?

Neurons: Tissue analysis showed that human nasal stem cells were well established in the areas affected and they had come to “differentiate”, that is to say, to turn into neurons.

Many advantages: The researchers believe that the use of stem cells has many advantages. They are easy to collect and grow. In addition, each individual is able to become his own donor, which should eliminate the risk of rejection and ensure immediate access to these cells.

Amnesia and Alzheimer’s: It will probably take years for these results open the way for early clinical trials in people who suffer from post-traumatic amnesia or post-ischemic, and even Alzheimer’s. Scientists Montpelier and Marseille continued indeed their research on animals with Alzheimer’s disease.

860 000 Alzheimer’s patients in France

35 million worldwide: 35 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease worldwide and the number is expected to double by 2030 and triple by 2050. In a 2008 report by Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), the cost of treatment on the planet represented $ 610 billion in 2010. In France, this disability affects 860,000 people and 220,000 more each year. Exponential growth that allows the Foundation for Medical Research announced 1.3 million patients in 2020.

No cure: Only one third of patients with this disease are currently treated in France. But there is, to date, no cure. Alzheimer’s has no cure. However four drugs act on specific cognitive and behavioral disorders in Alzheimer’s disease. Three belong to the family of interscholastic inhibitors and the latter is a anti glutamate, but none is truly on memory.

The population ages: Life expectancy in France was 84 years for women in 2006 and 77 years for men. Over the past decade, men have won three years and women two years. The lengthening of life and aging of the population (20 million over 60 years in 2040) is naturally accompanied by an increase in Alzheimer’s disease.