Environment & Science

New brain research may help scientists diagnose Alzheimer's earlier

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Scientists at UC Irvine have discovered a pathway to the brain that may help them diagnose Alzheimer’s disease earlier. That pathway is how we retrieve memories.

In a lot of ways, your brain is like a computer. Scientists at UC Irvine found a pathway through that computer that’s packed with nerve fibers that act like fiber optic cables.

They transport memories from where they’re made to where they’re stored. You retrieve memories through that pathway.

It kinda gets overgrown as we age – so those “senior moments” of walking into a room and forgetting why you’re there are normal. The memories are there, but sometimes it takes a while to retrieve them – like when you sit up in the middle of the night and finally remember what you tried to remember earlier that day.

In Alzheimer’s patients, the pathway breaks down more quickly, blocking the path the brain takes to retrieve memories. The memories are there, but you can’t get to them.

UCI researchers will study people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings could lead to an earlier diagnosis – and possibly new treatments with medication.