Spikes of Brain Activity May Protect Against Alzheimer’s
By Joie Fong, Silverado
Research indicates that the accumulation of amyloid-beta proteins (plaques) is a key component in the onset and development of Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques build up between nerve cells, damaging surrounding synapses and cells – thereby inhibiting cell-to-cell communication and decreasing overall brain function.
This build-up of plaque and an imbalance between two different types of amyloid-beta proteins is what many believe to be the root cause of Alzheimer’s.
Recent research from Tel Aviv University now suggests a ground-breaking finding: electrical pulses, in the form of high-frequency bursts, can actually help prevent plaque formation and amyloid-beta imbalances. These high frequency “spikes” have also shown impacts on information processing, memory encoding and brain plasticity.
According to Doctor Inna Slutsky, who was part of this pioneering research, environmental changes can regulate synaptic properties and increase the frequency of spike bursts. Therefore, in theory, social, sensory and emotional engagement can actually help contribute to the maintenance of brain plasticity and, in turn, help protect against the onset of Alzheimer’s.
Though more research is needed, this finding is a significant step forward in our understanding of Alzheimer’s; one that will undoubtedly have positive impacts on Alzheimer’s prevention and future treatments.
Source: Slutsky, N. et al. (2013). Spike bursts increase amyloid-beta…Nature Neuroscience.