WESTWOOD—New research, conducted by UCLA neurobiologists is offering hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The findings of UCLA professor David Glanzman and his research team indicate that patients suffering from the disease can have their lost memories restored.
Glanzman, a professor of integrative biology and physiology and of neurobiology, made the discovery through tests conducted on a marine snail called Aplysia, studying links between the creature’s nervous system and its long-term memory.
Based upon their experiments with the marine animal, Glanzman and his team hypothesize that long-term memory is stored in the brain’s neurons, contradicting the long-held belief that long-term memories are stored in the synapses. If true, this means that Alzheimer’s side-effect of memory loss can be alleviated by restoring damaged neurons.
“As long as the neurons are still alive, the memory will still be there, which means you may be able to recover some of the lost memories in the early stages of Alzheimer’s,” said Glanzman.
In advanced stages of Alzheimer’s neurons do die, meaning that the findings of Glanzman and his team only benefit patients in the early stages.
Their research, funded by the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation, can be read in full detail in the open-access journal “eLife.”