Vinegar flies could help find a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, scientists believe.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia have specifically bred Drosophila Melanogaster, a type of fruit fly, to have Alzheimer’s disease, ABC wrote.
Dr. Ian Musgrave, a molecular pharmacologist and toxicologist, said the research aims to test drugs and other treatment methods on vinegar flies to find answer to the neurodegenerative condition.
Musgrave explained vinegar fruit flies are excellent test subjects because the impact of different treatment methods was quicker and easier to detect on them.
“We can have an answer in half to a quarter of a year, whereas if you are using a mouse you have to wait a year or so,” he told ABC.
“Now the flies will start producing the mutant version of the human gene that is involved in Alzheimer’s disease.”
Vinegar flies have been used in genetic researches worldwide and were also used to understand several human diseases for years now, Musgrave said.
He explained, “Fruit flies are very well established models of genetic modification and we also have very well established models of behaviour and memory in fruit fly…Alzheimer’s disease is a major issue in Australia for elderly Australians.”
“The big problem is we have no effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. We have some symptomatic treatments, but we’re not able to threat the cause of the disease as yet,” he added.
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia. Older people are the most likely at risk to the disease.
Although there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s disease as of yet, active medical management can improve the quality of life for individuals living with the disease and their caregivers, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.
As of 2013, there are an estimated 44 million people worldwide with dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International.
This figure is expected to increase to more than 135 million people by 2050.
In US, about 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer’s disease as of 2013, the CDC reported.