Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Connection between integrity of brain's white matter, cognitive health

Date:
April 7, 2014
Source:
University of Kentucky
Summary:
A connection between the health of the brain tissue that supports cognitive functioning and the presence of dementia in adults with Down syndrome has been revealed by a small study. Using MRI technologies, brain scans of subjects with Down syndrome showed some compromise in the tissues of brain's frontal lobe compared to those from the control group. When people with Down syndrome and dementia were compared to people with Down syndrome without dementia, those same white matter connections were even less healthy.

A multidisciplinary group of scientists from the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky have identified an interesting connection between the health of the brain tissue that supports cognitive functioning and the presence of dementia in adults with Down syndrome.

Related Articles


Published in the Neurobiology of Aging, the study, which focused on detecting changes in the white matter connections of the brain, offers tantalizing potential for the identification of biomarkers connected to the development of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

"We used magnetic resonance imaging to compare the health of the brain's white matter and how strongly it connects different parts of the brain," explains Elizabeth Head, Ph.D., the study's senior author. "The results indicate a compelling progression of deterioration in the integrity of white matter in the brains of our study participants commensurate with their cognitive health."

Research team member David Powell, PhD, compared the brain scans of three groups of volunteers: persons with Down syndrome but no dementia, persons with Down syndrome and dementia, and a healthy control group.

Using MRI technologies, brain scans of subjects with Down syndrome showed some compromise in the tissues of brain's frontal lobe compared to those from the control group. When people with Down syndrome and dementia were compared to people with Down syndrome without dementia, those same white matter connections were even less healthy.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the study was the correlation between the cognitive abilities of participants with Down Syndrome and the integrity of their white matter- those who had higher motor skill coordination and better learning and memory ability had healthier frontal white matter connections.

Persons with Down syndrome are at an extremely high risk for developing Alzheimer's disease after the age of 40. The team hopes their work might eventually lead to the identification of biomarkers for the development of Alzheimer's disease in people with Down syndrome and, potentially, extend that to the general population as well.

Head cautions that these results are to some extent exploratory due to the small cohort of 30 participants. But, she says, "If we are able to identify people who, based on biomarkers, have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, we might be able to intervene at an earlier point to retard the progression of the disease."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kentucky. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David Powell, Allison Caban-Holt, Gregory Jicha, William Robertson, Roberta Davis, Brian T. Gold, Frederick A. Schmitt, Elizabeth Head. Frontal white matter integrity in adults with Down syndrome with and without dementia. Neurobiology of Aging, 2014; 35 (7): 1562 DOI: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.01.137

Cite This Page:

University of Kentucky. "Connection between integrity of brain's white matter, cognitive health." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 April 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407164600.htm>.
University of Kentucky. (2014, April 7). Connection between integrity of brain's white matter, cognitive health. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407164600.htm
University of Kentucky. "Connection between integrity of brain's white matter, cognitive health." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140407164600.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins