Northern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Identifying New Treatments For Memory Disorders: From Mice To Men

Institution

Northern Kentucky University

Abstract

The population of older Americans will expand greatly in the next 20 years and, as a consequence, disorders of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease, will become more prevalent. Drug treatments for Alzheimer’s disease currently exist, however they are either ineffective for some people or cause significant side effects. These drugs were developed to correct imbalances in brain chemistry, which may or may not exist early in the disease. However, a brain abnormality that clearly appears early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease is neuronal injury and/or loss in the hippocampus and related medial temporal lobe structures of the brain. The purpose of our research has been to experimentally produce a similar condition of neuronal loss in laboratory animals and to use these animals to test the efficacy of potential new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Animals (rats and mice) with neuronal loss in the hippocampus exhibit changes in activity that may be relevant to the agitation observed in Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, such animals demonstrate profound memory deficits, especially in the area of spatial memory. Our research to date has shown that drugs that are currently used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are ineffective in improving memory in animals with hippocampal neuronal loss. However, some antipsychotic drugs that are prescribed for agitation in Alzheimer’s disease also seem to slightly improve memory in animals with hippocampal neuronal loss. This research should enhance our understanding of the biological basic of memory and offer new insights into improving treatment for memory disorders.

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Identifying New Treatments For Memory Disorders: From Mice To Men

The population of older Americans will expand greatly in the next 20 years and, as a consequence, disorders of aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease, will become more prevalent. Drug treatments for Alzheimer’s disease currently exist, however they are either ineffective for some people or cause significant side effects. These drugs were developed to correct imbalances in brain chemistry, which may or may not exist early in the disease. However, a brain abnormality that clearly appears early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease is neuronal injury and/or loss in the hippocampus and related medial temporal lobe structures of the brain. The purpose of our research has been to experimentally produce a similar condition of neuronal loss in laboratory animals and to use these animals to test the efficacy of potential new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease. Animals (rats and mice) with neuronal loss in the hippocampus exhibit changes in activity that may be relevant to the agitation observed in Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, such animals demonstrate profound memory deficits, especially in the area of spatial memory. Our research to date has shown that drugs that are currently used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are ineffective in improving memory in animals with hippocampal neuronal loss. However, some antipsychotic drugs that are prescribed for agitation in Alzheimer’s disease also seem to slightly improve memory in animals with hippocampal neuronal loss. This research should enhance our understanding of the biological basic of memory and offer new insights into improving treatment for memory disorders.