A team of researchers from the University of New South Wales and the University at Albany in New York has discovered that people with mild cognitive impairment have significantly higher brain activity when they’re undergoing a test for dementia, compared to people who have normal cognitive function.
The research was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
“This was a very small study that looked at a single test for cognitive impairment, and we found significant brain activity,” Dr Joanna Anderlin, a neuroscientist at the University’s Department of Neuroscience, said.
Dr Anderlen said the results could help explain why people with Alzheimer’s are often more susceptible to the disease.
She said the researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to compare brain activity between patients and controls who had mild cognitive impairments and people with normal cognitive functioning.
“It’s really exciting because we found a direct link between cognitive impairment and brain activity in people with dementia,” Dr Averin said.
“We have to understand why people have cognitive impairment, and the most plausible explanation is that they have a different metabolic profile.”
When you have an impaired metabolism, the body’s ability to process sugars and amino acids and other nutrients that people need is reduced.
“So the person with an impaired metabolic profile can have a lower metabolism than the healthy person.”
The result was that the patients had significantly higher levels of the enzyme acetylcholine which is involved in the processing of acetyl-CoA.
“People who had a very low metabolism also had higher levels and higher levels than the control group.”
Dr Anerin said the enzyme was associated with symptoms such as fatigue, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating.
She and her team used fMRI scans of the brains of patients with mild and normal cognitive impairment to see how these differences changed with time.
“The study revealed that the difference between the two groups was significant, and that the Alzheimer’s patients had higher acetyl Choline levels in their brain,” Dr Annerin explained.
“When you see a change in acetyl choline levels you can’t just see that it’s there, it has to be there, and this study showed that the acetyl group had higher brain acetyl levels than that of the control.”
These changes in acetilate levels are associated with changes in the function of the brain and that suggests that people who are in a low metabolic state are less likely to benefit from treatments that try to increase acetylated choline.
Dr Anverin’s team also found that a combination of the symptoms they found with Alzheimerís patients and cognitive impairment caused them to have more brain activity. “
If acetyl was higher, this would suggest that the cerebrum may be more damaged.”
Dr Anverin’s team also found that a combination of the symptoms they found with Alzheimerís patients and cognitive impairment caused them to have more brain activity.
“There’s no way to know exactly why these people have higher brain levels of acetilates, but we think this is related to the cognitive impairment that people have, and may be associated with other problems with the brain that could be causing these changes,” she said.
Professor Ian Watson, from the Centre for Advanced Neuroimaging at University College London, said it was the first time anyone had shown a direct association between Alzheimerís symptoms and brain acetilacy.
“Our results are exciting because it provides a plausible explanation for the increased brain activity seen in people who appear to have mild cognitive function,” Professor Watson said.
He said there was evidence that some patients with dementia might have a more reduced metabolism of acetoacetate, which could be one of the factors that cause the increased activity in the brains.
“In fact, a study published in this month’s Lancet showed that people without dementia who had metabolic syndrome showed lower levels of activity in their brains,” Professor Watson said.
Our findings may also help us understand why dementia is more common in older people and could be the cause of this increased brain metabolism.””
However, this does show that we can study the brain changes in people and see whether they’re related to symptoms of Alzheimer’s.”
Our findings may also help us understand why dementia is more common in older people and could be the cause of this increased brain metabolism.