Brain function discovery that could help halt Alzheimer's disease
A new study, published in the journal Current Biology, has discovered the functions of the area of the brain in which Alzheimer’s begins, offering hope for the development of future treatments for over half a million people in the UK who suffer from the disorder.
The study led by Dr Brianna Vandrey (Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences) was carried out at the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews.
They focused on one of the first brain areas to show changes in Alzheimer’s – the lateral entorhinal cortex (LEC) and found that when a particular connection between one of the layers of the LEC and the hippocampus malfunctions, episodic memory is affected while simpler forms of memory remain unaffected.
The first symptoms of this progressive disorder (which results from degeneration of memory networks in the brain) are problems remembering the things that have happened to us. This type of memory is called episodic memory.
In order to understand the early stages of Alzheimer’s and develop treatments that can prevent degeneration within the brain, it is important to study how the brain supports episodic memory and how damage to the brain can result in memory episodic deficits.
The research was funded by the Carnegie Trust.