Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Beyond the brain: vascular changes in the neck may play role in Alzheimer’s

26.11.2013
Studies on Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia have long focused on what’s happening inside the brain. Now an international research team studying Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment is reporting potentially significant findings on a vascular abnormality outside the brain.

The finding has potential implications for a better understanding of Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders associated with aging.

The pilot study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Nov. 8 online ahead of print by researchers from the University at Buffalo, the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom and National Yang-Ming University School of Medicine in Taiwan. The authors caution that the study is small and that the results must be validated in larger, future studies.

They studied a hemodynamic abnormality in the internal jugular veins called jugular venous reflux or JVR. It occurs when the pressure gradient reverses the direction of blood flow in the veins, causing blood to leak backwards into the brain.

JVR occurs in certain physiological situations, if the internal jugular vein valves do not open and close properly, which occurs more frequently in the elderly. This reverse flow is also believed to impair cerebral venous drainage.

“We were especially interested to find an association between JVR and white matter changes in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and those with mild cognitive impairment,” says Robert Zivadinov, MD, PhD, FAAN, professor of neurology at the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author.

The brain’s white matter is made of myelin and axons that enable communication between nerve cells.

“Age-related white matter changes have long been associated with dementia and faster cognitive decline,” he says. “To the best of our knowledge, our study is the first to show that JVR is associated with a higher frequency of white matter changes, which occur in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ching-Ping Chung, the first author on the study and assistant professor of neurology at National Yang-Ming University, adds: “We are the first to observe that JVR may be associated with formation of these lesions in the brain, given the fact that Alzheimer’s patients have more white matter lesions than healthy people.

“If this observation is validated in larger studies,” she continues, “it could be significant for the development of new diagnostic tools and treatments for pathological white matter lesions developed in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.”

White matter changes have been found to have a direct relationship to the buildup of amyloid plaque long seen as central to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

“The accumulation of amyloid plaque may result from the inability of cerebrospinal fluid to be properly cleared from the brain,” says Clive Beggs, second author on the study and professor of medical engineering at the University of Bradford. In addition, he says, the study found that JVR appeared to be associated with dirty-appearing white matter, which is thought to represent early stage lesion formation.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is one of the first studies to explore the impact of dirty-appearing white matter in the elderly,” Beggs continues. He adds that the significance of dirty-appearing white matter in the elderly needs more study.

The research involved 12 patients with Alzheimer’s disease, 24 with mild cognitive impairment and 17 age-matched elderly controls. Participants underwent Doppler ultrasound exams and magnetic resonance imaging scans.

The impact of hemodynamic changes in veins from the brain to the neck has been the focus of numerous studies by Zivadinov and colleagues at UB and institutions worldwide.

“Given the major finding of our group in 2011 that both healthy controls and people with a variety of neurological diseases present with structural and hemodynamic changes of the extracranial venous system, we thought it was important to study how they might be involved in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other important neurodegenerative conditions,” he explains.

Zivadinov notes that the frequency of JVR increases with aging and its accumulated effects on cerebral circulation may take many years to develop. Patients are likely to be asymptomatic for a long time, which would explain why the condition is seen in both healthy people and those with neurological diseases, he adds.

Co-authors besides Zivadinov, Chung and Beggs are Simon Shepherd of the Centre for Infection Control and Biophysics at the University of Bradford; Pei-Ning Wang, Chun-Yu Cheng and Han-Hwa Hu, all of Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taipei and National Yang-Ming University; and Niels Bergsland, Deepa P. Ramasamy and Michael G. Dwyer all of the Buffalo Neuroimaging Analysis Center in the UB Department of Neurology.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
Senior Editor, Medicine
Tel: 716-645-4605
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
Twitter: @egoldbaum

Ellen Goldbaum | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.buffalo.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease
18.01.2019 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht Bioinspired nanoscale drug delivery method developed by WSU, PNNL researchers
10.01.2019 | Washington State University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Ten-year anniversary of the Neumayer Station III

The scientific and political community alike stress the importance of German Antarctic research

Joint Press Release from the BMBF and AWI

The Antarctic is a frigid continent south of the Antarctic Circle, where researchers are the only inhabitants. Despite the hostile conditions, here the Alfred...

Im Focus: Ultra ultrasound to transform new tech

World first experiments on sensor that may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles

The new sensor - capable of detecting vibrations of living cells - may revolutionise everything from medical devices to unmanned vehicles.

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Additive manufacturing reflects fundamental metallurgical principles to create materials

18.01.2019 | Materials Sciences

How molecules teeter in a laser field

18.01.2019 | Life Sciences

The cytoskeleton of neurons has been found to be involved in Alzheimer's disease

18.01.2019 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>