Brain Health

Blood Supply, Cognitive Decline, and What We Can Do to Slow It

Posted on 24 February 2020

The brain is an energy-hungry organ, and is particularly dependant on an adequate blood supply. A recent study published in the journal BRAIN suggests that blood supply plays an important role in cognitive decline with age.

Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the blood supply to the hippocampus, a small brain region that plays a central role in memory. For reasons unknown, the number of arteries supplying the hippocampus varies between individuals. They found that participants with an additional supplying artery performed better in cognitive tests, while those with diseased blood vessels performed worse.

The authors suggest reduced blood supply to the hippocampus could play an important role in cognitive decline with age. The good news is that a healthy lifestyle can improve blood supply. Physical activity improves the heart’s ability to pump blood “uphill” to the brain. It is also possible that lifestyle factors could influence formation of blood vessels supplying the hippocampus.

At present we can only speculate, because we don’t know, but it is possible that lifestyle has an influence on the formation of the blood vessels that supply the hippocampus. This would then be a factor that can be influenced and thus a potential approach for therapies and also for prevention. This is a topic we intend to investigate.

Dr. Valentina Perosa, lead author
Oeffentlichkeitsarbeit, D. (2020). A good blood supply is good for memory. Retrieved 24 February 2020, from https://www.dzne.de/en/news/press-releases/press/a-good-blood-supply-is-good-for-memory/

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