Alzheimer's Research: How plaque affects brain function and memory

Animal research, specifically on mice, has helped identify exactly how plaque deposited in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients affect neural pathways. In humans, this function is measured by cerebral blood flow as shown in scans. In this new research on Alzheimers, it shows how plaque affects brain function and memory in humans.

In the research study on mice, the Washington University in St. Louis researchers showed that plaque in mouse brains disrupt the ability of regions of the brain to network with one another. This decline parallels exactly what earlier work through brain scans show on humans. What’s exciting in this research is that this is the first time the effect has been quantified precisely, instead of simply measuring trends.

The clear connection between quantity of plaque and memory disruption will allow research to show whether prevention of plaque deposition will halt the loss of memory or disruption in brain networks. In humans, the MRI scans showing blood flow decrease are only a clue to decrease in function.

In many cases of dementia, brain and memory function can be improved with proper therapy and brain exercises. In the case of Alzheimer’s dementia, it has not yet been reversed. The connection between the quantity of plaque, hindrance of development and memory disruption is important in preserving brain function and memory to late in life.

This new research on mice is based on the development of new techniques for monitoring blood flow in the mouse brain. The key is to be able to monitor brain activity quickly and easily while the mouse is engaged in its usual activities. What has been interesting is that those mice with the strongest neural network connections over the norm in younger mice are correlated with greater plaque deposition in older mice, leading to Alzheimers at an earlier age. Similar results have been found in humans through the MRI imaging. While seemingly contradictory, it may actually be an inflammation causing the increased neural activity.

Certain activities help prevent decline and onset of Alzheimer’s, including learning, puzzles, reading, and other brain stimulation. Leaving the brain idle for long periods of time may increase risk of Alzheimer’s

Quote from

Alzheimer’s Research: How plaque affects brain function and memory

Scientist studying the way Alzheimer’s takes root in the brain have identified important new similarities between a mouse model and human Alzheimer’s. …The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, is among the first to precisely quantify the effects of Alzheimer’s disease plaques on brain networks in an animal model. PsyPost

What this means for you is that the more that is learned about the mechanism and speed plaque is deposited, the kinds of biological conditions, including genes, proteins, inflammation, etc., promoting and inhibiting plaque depostion, the closer we get to learning how to prevent this horrible and debilitating condition. This Alzheimers Research: How plaque affects brain function and memory is an important advancement in understanding this form of dementia.

Source in the Psy Post