While plenty of mystery still surrounds how exactly Alzheimer’s takes hold in the human brain, scientists do have some good evidence to suspect a link between the advent of the disease and a toxic plaque called amyloid-beta.
Now, new research from Massachusetts General Hospital has found that the culprit substance could be cleared away with the help of spontaneous, low-frequency vessel pulsations, known as vasomotion. The exact causes of vasomotion are poorly understood, but scientists do know that it is a natural process causing contractions and expansions of the blood vessels, and which, according to the new study, may help prevent or even treat Alzheimer’s disease in humans.
As part of the study, researchers used mouse models to observe the role of vasomotion oscillations in clearing away a certain type of substance similar to amyloid-beta. The results were impressive, showing that slow vessel pulsations played a “critical” role in getting rid of the junk.
The research team is currently trying to figure out ways to replicate the process for human Alzheimer’s patients and thus improve their brain’s ability to prevent or delay the onset of the disease.