The 5 February 2009 issue of the journal Nature reports on cerebral immune cells, microglia, as they may be implicated in many neurodegenerative diseases such as memory loss and dementia; as well as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Narcolepsy. Hyperactivity of these cells may literally eat up synaptic connections. Scientists are still researching and disagree whether the microglia are helpful or harmful in these conditions. Although there are many medical treatments available to aid in easing symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, no cure is yet available. The key to a cure may be figuring out exactly what microglia are doing at degenerating synaptic connections and figuring out how to stop them.
Futurist, Ray Kurzweil, is very positive about possible cures for these diseases in the near future. If neurodegenerative diseases are caused by inappropriately hyper microglia, the cure is soon to be provided by the insertion of microchips (in truly nano size) into the affected areas of the brain. These microchips would reprogram the cells to act as truly needed for healthy neuronal function. Medical trials are already underway with Parkinson's patients.
I'm hoping by the time I reach the age of common senility scientists will have all this figured out and I can drop by the microchip section of Target to pick up a short-term memory-restoring microchip I insert through my nose.