Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation funds research into drugs mimicking the neuroprotective effects of exercise

October 5, 2022

By Alice McCarthy

Physical activity, especially endurance exercise, can improve cognitive function in part by reducing neuroinflammation. Research from HSCI affiliate member Christiane Wrann has shown that the hormone irisin, which is secreted from muscles during exercise, may improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s disease. Her laboratory was awarded a grant from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to continue this work.

  • What they did: Dr. Wrann’s laboratory received a $600,000 research award to further evaluate irisin and other potential drugs that drive the cognitive benefits of exercise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • What they found: In recent research studies in mice, Wrann’s team showed that irisin, a form of an exercise-induced protein, conferred the benefits of exercise on cognitive function in mice even after significant pathologic signs of the disease were present.
  • Why it matters: If clinical trials are successful, irisin, would be the first drug to reproduce the neuroprotective effects of exercise.