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

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

Hearing is believing: Speech may be a clue to mental decline

July 17, 2017
Your speech may, um, help reveal if you're uh ... developing thinking problems. More pauses, filler words and other verbal changes might be an early sign of mental decline, which can lead to Alzheimer's disease, a study suggests.

Bacteria found in Alzheimer's brains

July 17, 2017
Researchers in the UK have used DNA sequencing to examine bacteria in post-mortem brains from patients with Alzheimer's disease. Their findings suggest increased bacterial populations and different proportions of specific ...

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.