Alzheimer’s risk pronounced with reduced levels of brain oxygen

by Savitha C Muppala on  November 21, 2006 at 5:45 PM Mental Health News
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Alzheimer’s risk pronounced with reduced levels of brain oxygen
Researchers from the psychiatry department and Brain Research Centre at Canada's University of British Columbia conducted a study on mice which portrayed a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease.

During the study, the researchers allowed some mice to stay in captivity marked by low-oxygen levels for about 16 hours a day, which continued for a month. Another group was subject to normal levels of oxygen.

After a month had elapsed, the researchers subjected the mice to a memory test and the timing was recorded. The finding revealed that the mice which had spent a month in a reduced oxygen environment did not perform well in the test. Further, the mice also portrayed more amyloid beta plaque in their brains, a significant symbol of advancing Alzheimer's disease, as compared to the mice exposed to normal levels of oxygen.

The researchers also observed the mice which possessed the Alzheimer's gene. When oxygen levels were low in the brain, the BACE1 gene caused the increased production of amyloid beta, which is the crucial protein in Alzheimer's brain plaque. This led to the hypothesis that there is a connection between the level of oxygen in the brain and Alzheimer's disease. An increased supply of oxygen in the brain may benefit patients suffering Alzheimer's. The researchers are yet to test this hypothesis.

Source: Medindia
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