A recent study has opened a new dialogue about how blood interacts with the brain. Blood from human umbilical cords may not be the key to preventing or reversing dementia in people, but it worked for lab mice.
Three Brainy Mice
Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine experimented with giving human plasma to mice. Specifically, they gave very young blood, from umbilical cords. The mice that received the plasma were old.
The original study was conducted by infusing young mouse blood into older mice. The results showed interesting promise in the area of the brain. The older mice showed improvements in memory and learning.
So this time around, the scientists wanted to see if the same results would occur if they infused human blood. Indeed, the findings were just as successful. The elderly mice could build nests with more intricacy and navigate mazes more successfully.
The most improvement in the mental acuity of the aged mice was from infusions of umbilical cord blood. Plasma from human young adults had a very small effect. Blood from the elderly had absolutely no valuable effect on the brain of the elderly mice.
From Mice to Men?
It’s pretty remarkable that they’ve discovered a link from blood to brain. But before anyone thinks a cure to Alzheimer’s has been found, we will need to think again. There are several variables that scientists need to take into consideration.
First off, just because human umbilical blood transferred to elderly mice reaped successful results, does not necessarily mean that similar results would transpire infusing elderly humans. Secondly, the elderly mice in the study did not have dementia. They simply had an old brain. Who’s to say if the blood infusion would have worked if the mice had a disease or disorder?
Nonetheless, the study may open a new line of research for potential dementia-treatment drugs. Currently, the medications available for, let’s say, Alzheimer’s, can help a bit, but the disease still progresses. It will be amazing when a discovery is made that can halt the progression of dementia.
Signs of an Ailing Brain (Dementia)
- loss of memory (especially short-term)
- faulty reasoning
- increased paranoia
- inappropriate behavior
- difficulty with abstract thinking
In the Meanwhile…
While those who are affected by dementia wait for a medication or a “fix-it” treatment, there are several actions to take that may help. Making a few lifestyle choices in a positive direction certainly cant hurt. Some examples are:
Eat Fresh – a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish provide natural sources of omega-3s. Colorful fruits are wealthy with antioxidants. Avoid refined sugars, processed foods, and meat, which contribute to inflammation (even in your brain.)
Sleep Well – During a deep sleep of eight hours or more, it’s believed that the brain shifts memories from temporary to longer-term storage. Besides consolidating information, your brain actually absorbs new info while you sleep. Reading or practicing a new skill before bed enhances retention. Sleep well, and you’ll have better focus and remember more.
Exercise – Aerobic exercise on a regular basis enhances retention of new (and old) information. MRI brain scans show that vigorous exercise expands the hippocampus, which is the area involved in learning and memory. Exercise also reduces stress (which can impede good recall.)
For more information on up-to-date research on health care, check out GetThrive.com