Heart disease causes early brain dysfunction, may triple key protein that triggers Alzheimer’s – Archyde

Early on, heart disease can lead directly to brain dysfunction, which can lead to dementia and triple the amount of beta-amyloid, a protein that builds up and triggers Alzheimer’s disease, scientists said.

The new study, published in eLife, found that heart disease causes a breakdown in a key brain function that links brain activity and blood flow. This means that the brain gets less blood for the same activity.

This occurs in patients with heart disease before the accumulation of fat in the blood vessels of the brain (atherosclerosis) and is a prelude to dementia.

Until now, it has been unclear how some forms of vascular dementia can appear years before atherosclerosis develops in the brain.

The researchers also found that the combination of heart disease and a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s disease tripled the amount of beta-amyloid, a protein that builds and triggers the neurological disease, and increases levels of an inflammatory gene (IL1) in the brain .

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia worldwide, and heart disease is a major risk factor for both Alzheimer’s and dementia. The new findings are the key to a better understanding of the links between heart disease and dementia.

“We have discovered that midlife heart disease leads to the breakdown of neurovascular coupling, an important mechanism in our brain that controls the amount of blood supplied to our neurons.

“This breakdown means the brain isn’t getting enough oxygen when it needs it, and this can lead to dementia over time,” said Dr. Osman Shabir, the lead author of the study from the Departments of Neuroscience and Healthy Lifespan, University of Sheffield.

The team received a three-year grant from the British Heart Foundation to study the use of an arthritis drug that targets IL1 to see if it could reverse or reduce brain dysfunction caused by heart disease.

The team also found that brain injuries can also worsen the regulation of cerebral blood flow, supporting observations that patients’ symptoms often worsen after injuries or falls.


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