Website Search
ID 797

Broken Wiring

Older individuals with mild cognitive impairment that includes memory problems are much more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than are their healthy peers.
Older individuals with mild cognitive impairment that includes memory problems are much more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than are their healthy peers. In a paper published June 27 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Leyla deToledo-Morrell from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and colleagues report that not only has the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory formation, atrophied in these patients, but the wiring inputs from the sensory processing regions of the brain have deteriorated as well. The researchers used high-resolution imaging to measure the brain anatomy of 40 patients with mild cognitive impairment and 50 age-matched controls. As expected from previous work, they saw that the hippocampus was smaller in the patients with mild cognitive impairment. They also found that axon bundles that carry sensory information to the hippocampus, called the perforant path, were significantly reduced in patients. The more physical deterioration a patient had, the worse their memory function was. “The hippocampus is not functioning well in these patients, but at the same time information is not coming into the hippocampus properly. So it is like a double whammy,” says deToledo-Morrell. Understanding what is going wrong in the brains of patients with mild cognitive impairment will not help scientists stop progression of the disease right now, but as researchers test new therapies, they will know where to look for whether the treatments slow or repair the damage.
mild cognitive impairment, mci, hippocampus, memory, alzheimer, deterioration, degenerative, impairment, cognitive
Creative Commons License This work by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Related content:

2034. Mild Cognitive Impairment
Professor Kenneth Kosik discusses the relationship between mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease. MCI is a predictor of Alzheimer's disease.
2148. Mild cognitive impairment and prevention
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses mild cognitive impaitment, a precursor to Alzheimer's disease. Early identification may be critical to treatment.
2025. What is Alzheimer's disease?
Professor Kenneth Kosik defines Alzheimer's disease as a slowly progressing illness that deteriorates the brain and impairs many major cognitive functions.
832. White Matters
Only quite recently have neuroscientists begun to understand the importance of white matter, a long-neglected part of the brain.
798. Beta-amyloid and Memory
A hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease pathology is the presence of beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of patients.
794. Background to Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that causes a gradual and irreversible loss of higher brain functions, including memory, language skills, and perception of time and space,
1997. Learning and memory
Learning and memory are two intimately linked cognitive processes that stem from interactions with the environment (experience).
2137. Amyloid plaques - rarely found in childhood
Professor Dennis Selkoe discusses the age at which plaque-forming a-beta can begin to build up. Children with Down syndrome may have these plaques, otherwise childhood instances are rare.
850. Beating Stressful Memories
New research showing how memories take shape may lead to better treatments for unwanted memories as well.
2322. Electroconvulsive Therapy - Effectiveness
Doctor Abraham Zangen explains that electroconvulsive therapy can be an effective treatment for patients who do not respond to antidepressant medication.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
CSHL HomeAbout CSHLResearchEducationPublic EventsNewsstandPartner With UsGiving