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Scientists 'reverse' vCJD signs
Symptoms of prion diseases, such as the human form of mad cow disease vCJD, can be reversed, a study of mice suggests.
Roger Morris, professor of molecular biology at King's College London, said: "This is potentially very important work because it shows something which we didn't expect and which could be extremely significant."
He said it appeared that in the early stages of prion disease in the brain, synapses were frozen, rather than being destroyed immediately; and that halting the process then allowed function to be restored.
"It means that the prospect of being able to do something for people may be much better than we thought. We may be able to reverse the behavioural effects."
In some of these mice, scientists then used an enzyme to switch off the gene that makes the normal prion protein when the rodents are about nine weeks old - equivalent to adolescence