Researchers Identify Mechanism of Age-Related Memory Loss

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Researchers from University of Virginia School of Medicine suggest that decline in cognitive ability with time is related to aging vessels connecting the brain and the immune system.

Decline in cognitive ability with time and memory loss in Alzheimer’s is associated with aging vessels connecting the brain and the immune system.  Now researchers from University of Virginia School of Medicine improved the function of the lymphatic vessels in mice that has enhanced the aged mice’s ability to learn and improved their memories. The research led by neuroscientist Jonathan Kipnis, PhD at the University of Virginia’s Department of Neuroscience used a compound to improve the flow of waste from the brain to the lymph nodes in the neck of aged mice. It was observed that the vessels became larger and drained the waste in a better way. This enhanced ability of the vessels had a direct effect on the mice’s ability to learn and remember.

The team analyzed that the accumulation of harmful amyloid plaques in the mice brain worsens when the vessels were obstructed. This obstruction was associated with Alzheimer’s and is expected to assist in understanding the buildup of such plaques in people. The researchers are now focusing on developing new therapies that enhance the performance of the lymphatic vessels in human brain. Furthermore, the research team collaborated with a biopharmaceutical company PureTech Health to explore the potential clinical applications of the findings. Jonathan Kipnis stated that combining vasculature repair with other approaches was the best way to treat Alzheimer’s as it improves the flow through the meningeal lymphatic vessels. The research was funded by National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, Hobby Foundation, Owens Family Foundation, Thomas H. Lowder Family Foundation, and American Cancer Society. The work published in the journal Nature on July 25, 2018 may provide new path to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory loss and other neurodegenerative diseases.


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