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One shot of a kidney protein gave monkeys a brain boost

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One shot of a kidney protein gave monkeys a brain boost

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Klotho, the ancient Greek goddess of fate, is responsible for spinning the thread of life. In the human body, a protein with the same name might also be able to bring some life back to an aging brain.

In a study published today in the journal Nature Aging, researchers at Yale and the University of California, San Francisco found that a single injection of the klotho protein led to modest improvements in cognitive function in older monkeys and that the effects lasted for two weeks. The authors think the protein represents a promising avenue for researching the rejuvenation of brain function in older adults.

“Cognitive decline from aging is one of our most pressing biomedical problems without truly effective medicines,” says Dena Dubal, a professor of neurology at UCSF and the study’s senior author. After discovering—accidentally—in previous work that klotho boosts cognition in mice, she says, “it became important to test this in a brain like ours.”

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