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One Shot of a Kidney Protein Gave Monkeys a Brain Boost

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They then administered a single low dose of klotho under each monkey’s skin, raising levels of the protein to those normally present in the animals at birth. Four hours later, researchers had them complete the food-finding task in batches of 20 trials, and the team then retested the monkeys over the next two weeks. Overall, the animals made correct choices more often than they did before receiving the injection. The team tested monkeys on two versions of the task: an easier one, where there were fewer compartments to choose from, and a harder one with more of them. Klotho improved their performance on the easier task by about 6 percent, and on the harder version by about 20 percent, Dubal says.

“This is very encouraging,” says Moe, who wasn’t involved in the new study.

The researchers had the monkeys do the task several times over the course of two weeks, and the team saw that even though klotho gets broken down by the body within a couple days of injection, the cognitive-enhancing effect lasted the entire time. “The fact that it can be given once and last for two weeks…

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