Increased Risk of Alzheimer's Disease with Low Dopamine Levels

Monday, April 9, 2018

A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease looked at the Ventral Tegmental Area (VTA) of the brain to help identify if they could use this area of the brain to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease earlier. Utilizing 110 adults and a highly sensitive 3Tesla MRI, the researchers found that the VTA size and amount of dopamine produced, as well as the size of the hippocampus, determined ability to learn and affected memory. If the hippocampus does not receive enough dopamine form the VTA, it decreases the ability to learn new memories, in turn increasing risk of dementia.  Although preliminary, these results offer a new possible way to screen the population, as Dr. Annalena Venneri, who lead the study, suggests “more studies are necessary, but these findings could potentially lead to a new wave [of] screening the elderly population for early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, changing the way brain scans are acquired and interpreted and using different memory tests.”

Source: Health Line, April 3, 2018; https://www.healthline.com/health-news/low-dopamine-link-to-alzheimers-diagnosis#1

Author: Rajin Bahl

Date Retrieved: April 6, 2018

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