Scientists have uncovered a potential approach to treat one of the commonest causes of dementia and stroke in older people.
Studies with rats found the treatment can reverse changes in blood vessels in the brain associated with the condition, called cerebral small vessel disease.
Treatment also prevents damage to brain cells caused by these blood vessel changes, raising hope that it could offer a therapy for dementia.
Small vessel disease, or SVD, is a major cause of dementia and can also worsen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. It is responsible for almost half of all dementia cases in the UK and is a major cause of stroke, accounting for around one in five cases.
Patients with SVD are diagnosed from brain scans, which detect damage to white matter – a key component of the brain’s wiring.
Until now, it was not known how changes in small blood vessels in the brain associated with SVD can cause damage to brain cells.
A team led by the University of Edinburgh found that SVD occurs when cells that line the small blood vessels in the brain become dysfunctional. This causes them to secrete a molecule into the brain.
The molecule stops production of the protective layer that surrounds brain cells – called myelin – which leads to brain damage.
Treating rats with drugs that stop blood vessel cells from becoming dysfunctional reversed the symptoms of SVD and prevented brain damage, tests found.
Researchers say that further studies will need to test whether the treatment also works when the disease is firmly established. They will also need to check if the treatment can reverse the symptoms of dementia.
Dementia is one of the biggest problems facing society, as people live longer and the population ages. Estimates indicate there are almost 47 million people living with dementia worldwide and the numbers affected are expected to double every 20 years, rising to more than 115 million by 2050.
The research, published in Science Translational Medicine, was carried out at the Medical Research Council Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the UK Dementia Research Institute at the University of Edinburgh. It was funded by the MRC, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Fondation Leducq.
Professor Anna Williams, Group Leader at the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Regenerative Medicine, said: “This important research helps us understand why small vessel disease happens, providing a direct link between small blood vessels and changes in the brain that are linked to dementia. It also shows that these changes may be reversible, which paves the way for potential treatments.”
Dr Sara Imarisio, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK said: “Changes to the blood supply in the brain play an important role in Alzheimer’s disease as well as being a direct cause of vascular dementia. This pioneering research highlights a molecular link between changes to small blood vessels in the brain and damage to the insulating ‘white matter’ that helps nerve cells to send signals around the brain.
“The findings highlight a promising direction for research into treatments that could limit the damaging effects of blood vessel changes and help keep nerve cells functioning for longer. There are currently no drugs that slow down or stop Alzheimer’s disease and no treatments to help people living with vascular dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK is very pleased to have helped fund this innovative research, which is only possible thanks to the work of our dedicated supporters.”
The Latest on: Small vessel disease
via Google News
The Latest on: Small vessel disease
- Absentmindedness points to earlier warning signs of silent strokes among people at risk on February 6, 2019 at 12:32 am
Adults who notice that they frequently lose their train of thought or often become sidetracked may in fact be displaying earlier symptoms of cerebral small vessel disease, otherwise known as a "silent ... […]
- MRI progression of cerebral small vessel disease and cognitive decline in patients with hypertension on February 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm
Objective: Hypertension is associated with cognitive deficits, probably because it is a major risk factor for the development of white matter hyperintensities (WMH), lacunes, and cerebral microbleeds, ... […]
- Avinger’s Pantheris SV (Small Vessel) Featured in Live Case Transmission at Leipzig Interventional Course (LINC) 2019 on January 27, 2019 at 4:00 pm
REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan. 28, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Avinger, Inc. (AVGR), a leading developer of innovative treatments for peripheral artery disease (PAD), today announced that its Pantheris® SV ( ... […]
- Cerebral small vessel disease, hypertension increase cognitive impairment risk on January 4, 2019 at 7:50 am
Jan. 4 (UPI) --High blood pressure, in combination with periventricular white matter hyperintensities progression, could bring on cognitive impairment, even with medication to lower blood pressure, a ... […]
- Cognitive impairment risk increased in hypertensive patients with progressive cerebral small vessel disease on January 4, 2019 at 3:22 am
Patients with high blood pressure and progression of periventricular white matter hyperintensities showed signs of cognitive impairment despite taking medication to lower their blood pressure, accordi... […]
- Cognitive impairment risk increased in hypertensive patients with progressive cerebral small vessel disease on January 4, 2019 at 2:54 am
Hypertension patients experienced abnormalities in the brain’s small vessels that were associated with cognitive impairment, which may be an early sign of dementia. Researchers found that patients wit... […]
- Imaging biomarkers of small vessel disease in diabetic individuals on December 9, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Developing ways of determining whether memory and cognitive problems are due to pathology in the small vessels of the brain. The study will be performed during three timepoints: around the time of enr... […]
- Small Vessel Disease in Parkinson's Can Lead to Worsening Motor Impairment on December 5, 2018 at 4:00 pm
Researchers found that small vessel disease was associated with worsening motor impairment in Parkinson's disease. An additional association between vascular risk factors, particularly hypertension, a... […]
- New drug shows promise for preventing and even reversing damage from age-related dementia and stroke on August 29, 2018 at 7:54 pm
A new discovery into the mechanism behind cerebral small vessel disease may offer new treatments to prevent or even repair damage associated with age-related dementia(Credit: Giovanni_Cancemi/Depositp... […]
via Bing News