Memory performance and other cognitive abilities benefit from a good blood supply to the brain. This applies in particular to people affected by a condition known as "sporadic cerebral small vessel disease". Researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University Medicine Magdeburg report on this in the journal " BRAIN ". Their study suggests that blood perfusion of the so-called hippocampus could play a key role in age- and disease-related memory problems.
Inside the human brain there is a small structure, just a few cubic centimeters in size, which is called the "hippocampus" because its shape resembles a seahorse. Strictly speaking, the hippocampus exists twice: once in each brain hemisphere. It is considered the control center of memory. Damage to the hippocampus, such as it occurs in Alzheimer's and other brain diseases, is known to impair memory. But what role does blood supply in particular play? A team of scientists headed by Prof. Stefanie Schreiber and Prof. Emrah Duezel, both affiliated to the DZNE and the University Medicine Magdeburg, investigated this question. The researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the blood supply to the hippocampus of 47 women and men aged 45 to 89 years. The study participants also underwent a neuropsychological test battery, which assessed, in particular, memory performance, speech comprehension and the abilty to concentrate. A double supply line
"It has been known for some time that the hippocampus is supplied by either one or two arteries. It also happens that only one of the two hippocampi, which occur in every brain, is supplied by two vessels. This varies between individuals. The reasons are unknown," explained Schreiber. "Maybe there is a genetic predisposition. However, it is also possible that the individual structure of the blood supply develops due to life circumstances. Then the personal lifestyle would influence the blood supply to the hippocampus." In the cognition tests, those study participants in whom at least one hippocampus was doubly supplied generally scored better. "The fact that the blood supply is fundamentally important for the brain is certainly trivial and has been extensively documented. We were therefore particularly focused on the hippocampus and the situation of a disease of the brain vessels. Little is actually known about this." Patients benefited in particular
Of the study subjects, 27 did not manifest signs of brain diseases. The remaining twenty participants showed pathological alterations in brain blood vessels, which were associated with microbleeding.
In these individuals, sporadic cerebral small vessel disease had been diagnosed prior to our investigations." Dr. Valentina Perosa, lead author of the study Related Stories
Also in Industry News
How to decide whether or not to start treatment for prostate cancer?
Analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 proteome via visual tools
$65m investment increases British Patient Capital’s exposure to life sciences and health technology