Research reveals more about spatial memory problems associated with Alzheimer's

Researchers at Western University have created a mouse model that reproduces some of the chemical changes in the brain that occur with Alzheimer's, shedding new light on this devastating disease. Marco Prado, Vania Prado and their colleagues at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry's Robarts Research Institute, looked at changes related to a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger, named acetylcholine (ACh), and the kinds of memory problems associated with it.

The research is now published online by PNAS.

The researchers, including first author Amanda Martyn, created a mouse line that doesn't have enough ACh being secreted by neurons in the same brain regions affected by 's disease. They found this neurochemical failure caused problems with spatial memory, the stored information that is needed for navigating one's environment. For instance, the memory needed to drive across town. They also found the reduction of ACh led to hyperactivity, which many patients with Alzheimer's experience.

"Once we reproduced that neurochemical failure, we asked, 'how does that affect spatial memory, how does it affect learning?' We found mice that don't have that particular chemical messenger in specific areas of the brain, have problems with spatial memory, for example," says Marco Prado. "This reveals specific types of cognitive deficits that we can hope to improve with drugs that boost this chemical messenger."

Related Stories

Research targets brain region affected by Parkinson's

date Nov 08, 2011

A team of researchers at The University of Western Ontario has demonstrated that elimination of one of the neurotransmitters in the part of the brain associated with Parkinson's disease may improve brain function without ...

A link between obesity and memory?

date Jun 14, 2006

Scientists have wondered why obese patients who have diabetes also may have problems with their long-term memory. New Saint Louis University research in this month's Peptides provides a clue.

Education protects against pre-Alzheimer's memory loss

date Oct 20, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with more education and more mentally demanding occupations may have protection against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the October 21, 2008, ...

Recommended for you

Implications of dual-tasking on dementia research

date Jul 06, 2015

You turn the street corner and bump into an old friend. After the initial greetings and exclamations of "It's so good to see you!" and "Has it been that long?", your friend inquires as to where you are going. ...

A healthy body often equals a healthy brain

date Jun 30, 2015

(HealthDay)—People who want to stay sharp as they age often turn to brain teasers, puzzles and games, figuring correctly that they'll lose it if they don't use it.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.