People with Alzheimer’s disease experience poor blood flow to the brain, which affects cognitive function. A new study conducted in a mouse model has finally uncovered the reason behind this reduced blood flow.
For a while now, researchers have been aware that Alzheimer’s disease goes hand in hand with vascular dysfunction, and reduced blood flow to the brain, in particular.
However, it is only recently that investigators have begun to focus their efforts on understanding just how and why poor vascular health can contribute to cognitive decline in this type of dementia.
A study published last month in Alzheimer’s and Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, calls vascular dysfunction “the disregarded partner of Alzheimer’s disease.” It argues that researchers must first fully understand all the factors involved in the pathology of this type of dementia before they can develop a pluripotent treatment for it.
“Individualized, targeted therapies for [Alzheimer’s disease] patients will be successful when the complexity of [this condition’s] pathophysiology is fully appreciated,” the study authors write.
Now, in a study in mice, a team of investigators from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY has identified a mechanism — tied to poor blood flow to the brain — that directly contributes to cognitive decline.
The study paper detailing the researchers’ findings appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
In its introduction, the authors explain that “[v]ascular dysfunction is implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease,” and that “[b]rain blood flow is also severely compromised; cortical cerebral blood flow reductions of [approximately] 25 percent are evident early in disease development in both patients with Alzheimer’s disease, and in mouse models.”
“People probably adapt to the decreased blood flow, so that they don’t feel dizzy all of the time, but there’s clear evidence that it impacts cognitive function,” notes study author Chris Schaffer.
Source: Study finds new cognitive decline mechanism in Alzheimer’s : Medical News Today