Discovery in the field of Alzheimer's disease. Israeli researchers have succeeded in preventing memory damage in an animal model

Israeli researchers managed to prevent memory deterioration in an animal model, offering promising perspectives for the early detection and prevention of Alzheimer's disease symptoms, reports the TPS agency on Thursday, quoted by Agerpres.

Physiological changes occur in the brains of Alzheimer's patients PHOTO Shutterstock

Conducted by Tel Aviv University, the study discovered a method by which Alzheimer's disease can be detected during sleep or anesthesia, in the pre-symptomatic stage, up to 20 years before the signs of dementia appear.

Early detection could revolutionize therapeutic approaches and significantly improve patient outcomes.

The conclusions of the study were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Communications.

The researchers identified abnormal brain activity in the hippocampus—a region essential for memory and learning—during anesthesia-induced states and sleep.

This increased activity, resulting from the destabilization of the neural network, precedes the onset of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

“10-20 years before the appearance of known symptoms of memory impairment and cognitive decline, physiological changes occur slowly and gradually in the brain of patientswhat,” said PhD student Shiri Shoob, who led the study.

By targeting a small nucleus in the thalamus, responsible for regulating sleep states, researchers were able to suppress this abnormal activity and prevent memory deterioration in an animal model of Alzheimer's.

“There is an accumulation of beta-amyloid and tau protein deposits, a reduction in the volume of the hippocampus and many others. In addition, approximately 30% of people who were found postmortem to have typical Alzheimer's disease pathology did not develop the typical symptoms of the disease during their lifetime. Therefore, the brain would have an admittedly limited capacity to protect itself from the damage caused by the disease“, she explained.

Electrical impulses that help relieve symptoms

Deep Brain Stimulation DBS, a surgical procedure used to treat a variety of neurological symptoms, especially those associated with movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, dystonia and some cases of epilepsy, may also be helpful in Alzheimer's cases.

“Using deep brain stimulation (DBS) to suppress this nucleus not only inhibited epileptic activity during anesthesia but also prevented subsequent memory loss.”explained Inna Slutsky, teacher at the university.

DBS involves implanting electrodes in certain areas of the brain and connecting them to a pacemaker-like device that generates electrical impulses. These impulses regulate abnormal activity in the brain and help relieve symptoms.

“The brain has self-protection mechanisms”

The researchers observed that DBS treatment given during the pre-symptomatic phase effectively protected the animals from memory loss in the symptomatic phase of Alzheimer's disease. This suggests a potential therapeutic strategy in early intervention.

“Physiological changes appear in the brain long before the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease appear. The brain, as our study indicates, possesses self-protection mechanisms, however limited, in the face of the damage caused by the disease”Shoob stated.

The study also provided new information regarding the relationship between Alzheimer's pathology and Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD), a prevalent condition in elderly people undergoing surgery. POCD can be manifested by deficits in memory, attention and information processing speed. The symptoms are similar to those of Alzheimer's disease, but they are temporary, lasting several weeks or months, depending on the patient's age, the type of anesthesia used, medications and other factors.

These findings could lead to better surgical outcomes, especially for the elderly.

The researchers intend to translate these findings into clinical trials on human subjects.