Care of the elderly has been boosted by the discovery that a vaccine that is being developed to prevent individuals developing Alzheimer's disease can slow the onset of inclusion body myositis (IBM).
Currently, IBM does not have a cure and there is not even a treatment for the condition, which mostly affects the elderly.
Symptoms include patients experiencing inflammation or weakness in the muscles of their wrists, fingers and arms.
Frank LaFerla, director of UC Irvine's Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia, commented: "The immunisation wasn't a complete fix, but it significantly slowed the deterioration of motor function in our IBM mice."
He added that there was a chance that the research breakthrough would result in clinical trials and could one day bring about a vaccine for the degenerative psychiatric disorder.
IBM is a rare disease that progresses slowly, with sufferers initially experiencing difficulty grasping things with their fingers. As the condition manifests, the danger of a fall becomes a concern due to the risk of injury.