Altering Alzheimer Views
Alzheimer’s disease affects millions around the globe and now researchers at Florida State University are answering the diseases most perplexing questions.
New doors in Alzheimer’s research are opening due to a professor and graduate student studying the way two parts of the brain interact during sleep, which may explain symptoms experienced by Alzheimer’s patients. Interactions during sleep allow for memories to form and a failure in this normal system of the brain can cause a person with Alzheimer’s disease memory to be impaired.
Alzheimer’s Study Changing Views
This study is important because it looks at potential mechanisms underlying the decrease in memory in Alzheimer’s disease and understanding how it causes the decrease in memory might help identify therapies.
Measuring the brain waves in mouse models of the disease has given researchers a new perspective on Alzheimer’s – particularly how two parts of the brain interact. During sleep the parietal cortex and the hippocampus interact, contributing to symptoms of impaired memory and cognition.
Alzheimer Questions Answered
In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, as a possible cause of impaired spatial learning and memory, the team investigated a phenomenon known as memory replay — the replication of activity patterns from waking experiences in subsequent sleep cycles.
They found that the mice modeling aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease in humans had disrupted functional connections between the hippocampus and the parietal cortex during these memory replay cycles.
The development of the hippocampus is necessary for the storing of “episodic” memories — a type of long-term memory of a past experience — and is believed to be critical in helping other sections of the brain to derive generalized information from these personal experiences.
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