Wednesday October 24, 2018

Study- Fluid Drainage System in Brain Linked to Alzheimer

The study demonstrated that meningeal lymphatic vessels in the brain play an essential role in maintaining a healthy homeostasis in ageing brains and could be a new target for the treatment

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For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team engineered a hydrogel that can swell those lymphatic vessels.
For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team engineered a hydrogel that can swell those lymphatic vessels. (IANS)
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Scientists have identified a fluid drainage system in the brain that sheds light on the underlying mechanisms of brain ageing and age-related Alzheimer’s disease.

The study demonstrated that meningeal lymphatic vessels in the brain play an essential role in maintaining a healthy homeostasis in ageing brains and could be a new target for the treatment.

These vessels drain fluid from the central nervous system into the cervical lymph nodes and dysfunction of that drainage aggravates cognitive decline as well as Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Moreover, when the healthy aged mice were treated with a molecule that increased meningeal lymphatic vessel size and fluid flow within those vessels, the mice showed improved performance on learning and memory tasks.

“As you age, the fluid movement in your brain slows, sometimes to a pace that’s half of what it was when you were younger,” said Jennifer Munson, Assistant Professor at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), in the US.

alzheimers
The study demonstrated that meningeal lymphatic vessels in the brain play an essential role in maintaining a healthy homeostasis in ageing brains. Pixabay

“We discovered that the proteins responsible for Alzheimer’s actually do get drained through these lymphatic vessels in the brain along with other cellular debris, so any decrease in flow is going to affect that protein build-up,” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Nature, the team engineered a hydrogel that can swell those lymphatic vessels.

As a result of the treatment, the bulk flow of fluid in the brain actually increased, and that seemed to have a positive effect on cognitive abilities.

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Munson noted that older mice with normal, age-impaired cognitive abilities experienced the biggest gains in memory and learning from the treatment.

“Our results showed that someday this method could be used as a potential treatment to help alleviate the effects not only of Alzheimer’s, but also other age-related cognitive ailments,” Munson said. (IANS)

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Novel AI Tool May help to Predict Alzheimer’s risk

Globally, around 50 million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization

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alzheimer's
New AI tool can predict Alzheimer's risk. Pixabay

A team of scientists, including one of an Indian-origin, has successfully trained a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithm that may soon help doctors to make accurate predictions regarding cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s disease and provide intervention.

The team, from the McGill University in Canada, designed an algorithm that learns signatures from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), genetics, and clinical data.

This specific algorithm can help predict whether an individual’s cognitive faculties are likely to deteriorate towards Alzheimer’s in the next five years.

“At the moment, there are limited ways to treat Alzheimer’s and the best evidence we have is for prevention. Our AI methodology could have significant implications as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ that would help stream people onto the right pathway for treatment,” Mallar Chakravarty, assistant professor at the University’s Department of Psychiatry.

“For example, one could even initiate lifestyle changes that may delay the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s or even prevent it altogether,” she added.

Alzheimer's
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory, Pixabay

For the study, published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology, the team trained their algorithms using data from more than 800 people ranging from normal healthy seniors to those experiencing mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease patients.

“We are currently working on testing the accuracy of predictions using new data. It will help us to refine predictions and determine if we can predict even farther into the future,” Chakravarty noted.

With more data, doctors would be able to better identify those in the population at greatest risk for cognitive decline leading to Alzheimer’s.

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Globally, around 50 million people have dementia and the total number is projected to reach 82 million in 2030 and 152 in 2050, according to the World Health Organization.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, may contribute to 60-70% of cases. Presently, there is no truly effective treatment for this disease. (IANS)