It’s not abnormal to hear the phrase ‘traumatic brain injury’ and Alzheimer’s disease in the same sentence. That’s because a lot of research is focusing on how cognitive impairment brought on by injury can lead to dementia. Over half of people who’ve had an injury experience memory impairment and they’ve been shown to be twice as likely to get dementia. Other studies have shown that beta amyloid plaques, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s start to build up rapidly in the brains of mice with brain injuries.
Scientists have found that injuries trigger an “integrated stress response,” in brain cells which disrupts their ability to synthesize the vital proteins they need to function and may make long-term memory formation difficult. They’ve been trying to come up with ways to boost memory and, in a recent study on mice, they succeeded. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, successfully used a memory-boosting compound to improve the deficits in mice following a brain injury. They believe it holds promise for the development of new drugs, which, if successful, would be good news for Alzheimer’s patients.
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