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

October 10, 2012

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."

Explore further: Research targets brain region affected by Parkinson's

Related Stories

Research targets brain region affected by Parkinson's

November 8, 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 ...

Study provides potential explanation for mechanisms of associative memory

December 13, 2011
Researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that a chemical compound in the brain can weaken the synaptic connections between neurons in a region of the brain important for the formation of long-term memories. ...

Recommended for you

Study shows video games could cut dementia risk in seniors

November 16, 2017
Could playing video games help keep the brain agile as we age?

New player in Alzheimer's disease pathogenesis identified

November 14, 2017
Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have shown that a protein called membralin is critical for keeping Alzheimer's disease pathology in check. The study, published in Nature Communications, ...

Biomarker may predict early Alzheimer's disease

November 10, 2017
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified a peptide that could lead to the early detection of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The discovery, published in Nature Communications, may ...

Smell test challenge suggests clinical benefit for some before development of Alzheimer's

November 10, 2017
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) may have discovered a way to use a patient's sense of smell to treat Alzheimer's disease before it ever develops. ...

How SORLA protects against Alzheimer's disease

November 7, 2017
Researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) have identified a new protective function for a brain protein genetically linked to Alzheimer's. The findings, published in the Journal of Experimental ...

Saving neurons may offer new approach for treating Alzheimer's disease

November 6, 2017
Treatment with a neuroprotective compound that saves brain cells from dying also prevents the development of depression-like behavior and the later onset of memory and learning problems in a rat model of Alzheimer's disease. ...

0 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.