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Tracking Brain Connections

Deterioration in connections in brain area called the medial temporal lobe over time correlate with memory loss

10 February 2021

Tracking Brain Connections

It's estimated that globally someone develops dementia every three seconds. For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, the build-up of toxic amyloid beta and tau proteins in their brain caused neurodegeneration and symptoms like memory loss. Recently, neuroscientists sought to understand exactly how tau proteins cause memory loss by studying the medial temporal lobe (MTL), a brain area important for cognition and memory. By analysing two-years’ worth of magnetic resonance imaging data from individuals with and without memory impairments, the team were able to show that the MTL’s structural integrity and its connections (shown here in green, blue, and red) worsened in participants who, at their first brain scan, had tau proteins in the fluid surrounding their brain and spinal cord. This deterioration also correlated with increased memory loss over the two years. If replicated on a larger and longer scale, these findings could in future help predict memory loss in Alzheimer’s.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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