Why memory loss is an early Alzheimer’s symptom

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In a recent study published in Nature Communications, researchers recorded blood oxygen levels in the hippocampus.

They provided experimental proof for why the area, commonly referred to as ‘the brain’s memory center,” is vulnerable to damage and degeneration, a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

The study is from the University of Sussex. One author is Dr. Catherine Hall.

In the study, the team examined brain activity and blood flow in the hippocampus.

They then used simulations to predict that the amount of oxygen supplied to hippocampal neurons furthest from blood vessels is only just enough for the cells to keep working normally.

They found that blood flow and oxygen levels in the hippocampus were lower than those in the visual cortex.

Also, when neurons are active, there is a large increase in blood flow and oxygen levels in the visual cortex. This provides energy to hungry neurons. But in the hippocampus, these responses were much smaller.

The scientists also found that blood vessels in the hippocampus contained fewer mRNA transcripts (codes for making proteins) for proteins that shape blood vessel dilation.

Additionally, the cells that dilate small blood vessels, called pericytes, were a different shape in the hippocampus than in the visual cortex.

They suggest that the hippocampus exists at a watershed. It’s just about OK normally, but when anything else happens to decrease brain blood flow, oxygen levels in the hippocampus reduce to levels that stop neurons from working.

That’s probably why Alzheimer’s disease first causes memory problems—because the early decrease in blood flow stops the hippocampus from working properly.

These findings are an important step in the search for preventative measures and treatments for Alzheimer’s, because they suggest that increased blood flow in the hippocampus might be really effective at preventing damage from happening.

The team says if it’s right that increasing blood flow in the hippocampus is important in protecting the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s, then it will throw further weight behind the importance of regular exercise and a low-cholesterol diet to long-term brain health.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about red face after alcohol drinking may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease risk and results showing that this daily nutrient may play a critical role in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about Alzheimer’s disease, please see recent studies about this vaccine may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and findings of this stuff in your brain could prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

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