A new study by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, UK, is set to investigate a new method of enhancing brain activity for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
The 14-month study aims to evaluate the use of light stimulation to block the build-up of a toxic protein, beta-amyloid, in the cells of the brain areas that are vulnerable to the disease.
Sponsored by Alzheimer’s Research UK, the study is intended to provide a new prevention strategy for people who are at high risk of the disease.
Study lead researcher and Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences senior lecturer Dr Shuzo Sakata said: “The lack of a cure for Alzheimer’s disease means there is an urgent need to develop new, innovative approaches to combating it.
“We have known for a long time that the beta-amyloid protein is toxic to brain cells; it has recently been found that manipulating the activity of neurons can reduce the protein in some regions of the brain.
“But what is not well understood is how it can be used to do this across many brain regions at the same time.”
Initially, the team will carry out a pre-clinical research on a brain area that communicates with various other areas and is commonly affected by the disease.
The researchers will assess the impact of using light to activate neurons in this particular area for enhancing fast brainwaves impaired in Alzheimer’s patients.
Furthermore, the study aims to determine if the build-up of the beta-amyloid protein in different areas of the brain could be minimised by the enhancement of brainwaves.