Administering oxygen precipitates Alzheimer`s
Last Updated: Thursday, August 13, 2009, 00:00

Washington: A 65-year-old woman, who has routine hip surgery, develops memory loss six months later and is diagnosed with Alzheimer`s. Just a
coincidence? Researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) and Vanderbilt University don`t think so.

They suspect that the culprit precipitating Alzheimer`s disease in the elderly women may be a routine administration of high concentrations of oxygen for several hours during, or following surgery - a hypothesis borne out in a recent animal model study.

Gary Arendash, neuroscientist at the USF Alzheimer`s Disease Research Centre and L. Jackson Roberts at Vanderbilt University used genetically altered mice to develop abnormal levels of the protein beta amyloid, which deposits in the brain as plaques and eventually leads to Alzheimer-like memory loss as the mice age.

They found that young adult Alzheimer`s mice exposed to 100-percent oxygen during several three-hour sessions demonstrated substantial memory loss not otherwise present at their age.

Young adult Alzheimer`s mice exposed to normal air had no measurable memory loss, and neither did normal mice without any genetic predisposition for Alzheimer`s disease.

"Although oxygen treatment beneficially increases the oxygen content of blood during or after major surgery, it also has several negative effects that we believe may trigger Alzheimer`s symptoms in those destined to develop the disease," said Arendash, the study`s lead author.


First Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009, 00:00

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