Too much brain activity may be linked to Alzheimer`s

Updated: Aug 17, 2012, 15:24 PM IST

London: High levels of neuronal activity in parts of the brain may play an important role in the development of Alzheimer`s disease, a new study has claimed.

Researchers from the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam found that brain dynamics may play a role in Alzheimer`s.

Activity patterns change at an early stage in Alzheimer`s disease but instead of being the consequence of structural damage, they might be the cause, the research found.

The study showed that highly connected `hub` regions (which display most Alzheimer pathology) also possess the highest levels of activity.

"This implies that the investigation of factors regulating neuronal activity may open up novel ways to detect, elucidate and counter the disease," first author, Willem de Haan said in a statement.

Using a realistic computational model of the human cortex, the researchers simulated progressive synaptic damage to brain regions based on their level of activity, and subsequently investigated the effect on the remaining network.

With this `activity dependent degeneration` model, they reproduced a range of phenomena encountered in actual neurophysiological data of Alzheimer`s patients: loss and slowing of neuronal activity, loss of communication between areas, and specific changes in brain network organisation.

The study was published in journal PLoS Computational Biology.