New neurons can restore memory in Alzheimer's patients

New neurons can restore memory in Alzheimer’s patients

A study published in the scientific journal Journal Experimental Medicine by scientists at the University of Illinois, in the United States, revealed that increased neuron production can restore memory in Alzheimer’s patients. The research was published last Friday (19/8) and represents a possible strategy for the treatment of the disease.

In Brazil, according to data from the Ministry of Health, 1.2 million people live with Alzheimer’s and another 100,000 are diagnosed with the disease each year. Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that causes cognitive losses, such as memory. Currently, there is still no cure for the condition.

The study, carried out with mice with Alzheimer’s disease, boosted in the animals a process called neurogenesis, which produces new neurons for the brain. Scientists used genetic engineering to “turn off” a gene related to the death of neural stem cells, which give rise to neurons — thus, more brain cells were created.

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After the procedure, the mice began to present a greater number of new neurons. According to scientists, cells can incorporate themselves into neural circuits and regain memory storage function. The animals passed two different tests, attesting that memory failures due to Alzheimer’s may be associated with errors in neurogenesis.

Scientists also did the opposite process. They inactivated the newly formed neurons in the Alzheimer’s mice and, as a result, the loss of the benefits of increased neurogenesis was observed, preventing any kind of improvement in the animals’ memory.

“However, the role of newly formed neurons in memory formation and whether defects in neurogenesis contribute to cognitive impairments associated with Alzheimer’s are unclear.”

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