A multidisciplinary group of scientists from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky have identified an interesting connection between the health of the brain tissue that supports cognitive functioning and the presence of dementia in adults with Down syndrome.
Published in the Neurobiology of Aging, the study, which focused on detecting changes in the white matter connections of the brain, offers tantalizing potential for the identification of biomarkers connected to the development of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.
"We used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the health of the brain's white matter and how strongly it connects different parts of the brain," explains Elizabeth Head, Ph.D., the study's senior author. "The results indicate a compelling progression of deterioration in the integrity of white matter in the brains of our study participants commensurate with their cognitive health."
Research team member David Powell, PhD, compared the brain scans of three groups of volunteers: persons with Down syndrome but no dementia, persons with Down syndrome and dementia, and a healthy control group.
Using MRI technologies, brain scans of subjects with Down syndrome showed some compromise in the tissues of brain's frontal lobe compared to those from the control group. When people with Down syndrome and dementia were compared to people with Down syndrome without dementia, those same white matter connections were even less healthy.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the study was the correlation between the cognitive abilities of participants with Down Syndrome and the integrity of their white matter– those who had higher motor skill coordination and better learning and memory ability had healthier frontal white matter connections.
Persons with Down syndrome are at an extremely high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease after the age of 40. The team hopes their work might eventually lead to the identification of biomarkers for the development of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome and, potentially, extend that to the general population as well.
Head cautions that these results are to some extent exploratory due to the small cohort of 30 participants. But, she says, "If we are able to identify people who, based on biomarkers, have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, we might be able to intervene at an earlier point to retard the progression of the disease."
The Neurobiology of Aging is a peer-reviewed journal with a primary emphasis on mechanisms of nervous system changes with age or diseases associated with age.
Laura Dawahare | EurekAlert!
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).
The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences
16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research