Peruvian plant extract inhibits brain plaques and tangles in mice.
Condition is linked to memory loss from aging and brain injuries, says Dr. Alan Snow, Alzheimer's brain-aging researcher.
Findings appear in "Scientific Reports - a Nature Journal" 
In addition to normal aging, head injury from sports can spark memory loss and other problems in later life, and should not be taken lightly.
Dr. Alan Snow, who has been researching Alzheimer's disease and brain aging for over three decades, says even minor head concussions can contribute to loss of cognitive ability in later life.
He has been studying Cat's Claw, a 2000-year old plant used by the Peruvian tribes as a new and potent inhibitor and reducer of what scientists call brain plaques and tangles that develop in the aging brain-these are hallmarks of memory loss.
The extract from cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa), found in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest is known as PTI-00703 cat's claw and has been studied for over 10 years by the Dr. Snow research teams, and looks promising according to this brain-aging and Alzheimer's disease expert.
Dr. Snow is a former Research Associate Professor of Pathology at the University of Washington in Seattle, where he was also an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center project team leader for over 10 years.
He was the lead investigator in a 108-page study published earlier this year by "Scientific Reports - a Nature Journal"  in which an extract from Cat's Claw was administered to mice that were genetically engineered to develop brain plaques and short-term memory loss. When the extract was administered, the researchers saw a marked decrease of brain plaques along with improved memory--almost returning to normal after three months of treatment. Studies also showed that the cat's claw extract inhibited and reduced brain tangles as well.
Dr. Snow, who received a $3.5M LEAPS award from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease Research, notes: "After working in drug development for brain aging for over three decades, I've never seen a more potent inhibitor of both plaques and tangles than the natural, plant-based cat's claw extract that we have discovered."
In scientific terms, brain aging demonstrates the accumulation of beta-amyloid protein containing "plaques" and tau protein containing "tangles" that contribute to accelerated memory loss and cognitive decline. Dr. Snow reports, "In our study PTI-00703 extracted from a specific species of cat's claw was identified as a potent inhibitor and reducer of both beta-amyloid fibrils--the main component of plaques--and tau protein paired helical filaments/fibrils--the main component of tangles."
Dr. Snow has published extensively on brain plaques and tangles and was the first to discover the presence of heparan sulfate proteoglycans (HSPGs) in Alzheimer's disease and prion diseases (with Nobel Laureate, Dr. Stanley Prusiner), and has shown HSPGs to have an important role in the initiation of Alzheimer's disease and a host of other amyloid disorders.
In addition to the Parkinson's Disease Research, Dr. Snow is the recipient of 18 National Institute of Health grant awards including grants to identify new plaque and tangle inhibitors. He is a co-inventor on 342 issued patents in the US and Internationally. Dr. Snow is the founder and CEO of Edmonds, Washington-based Cognitive Clarity Inc.