To protect cognitive abilities as you age, take care of your heart, new research suggests

July 19, 2023 0 Comments

The team wanted to study calcium leakage in more detail, precisely because the calcium leakage that can contribute to heart failure can also occur in the brain. Specifically, calcium moves through the heart in a channel that cannot close properly during heart failure. This causes calcium to leak through the canal, meaning that calcium is not helping the heart properly.

Knowing this, the researchers wanted to observe calcium leakage into the brain to study their effects.

In a mouse model of heart failure, they saw that calcium leakage into brain neurons did lead to cognitive impairment. Similarly, in the brains of people who died of heart failure, the team saw the same leaky calcium channels.

And while more research is needed to better understand this link between heart failure, cognitive ability, and calcium leakage, the team points to two possible explanations: First, calcium leakage activates enzymes that cause the response seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. and second, that calcium leakage causes abnormalities in brain neurons.

The good news is that the team is now working on a drug that would “close” these calcium leaks not only in the heart, but also in the brain. It is still undergoing clinical trials, but researchers hope it will offer a new solution to the problem of calcium leakage.

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