Breakthrough Made in Brain Health Thanks to Researchers at the University of Victoria

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We might have the answer on how to maintain brain health. Researchers at the University of Victoria found out why we lose blood vessels in the brain. Their breakthrough in brain health could be used to create strategies for preventing and protecting the brain and fighting against the decline in cognitive abilities.

The smallest blood vessels in the brain are also known as capillaries. There are millions of tiny capillaries in the human brain and debris in the blood or cells can clog them. However, the vessels clear in seconds or minutes. But scientists never knew what happens with the clogged capillaries.

The Brain Doesn’t Produce New Capillaries

Neuroscientist Craig Brown and Ph.D. student Patrick Reeson from the University of Victoria have found out what happens to the stuck capillaries. They discovered that 30% of the clogged tiny brain vessels were cut off from the blood vessel network.

Craig Brown explains that even though our brain has millions of capillaries, they’re essential to our brain health and losing them is a great concern. He and Reeson researched if there were new capillaries to replace the clogged ones, but they saw no such evidence. Brown explains that the discovery will help scientists treat the issue:

“It will be important to identify new strategies to treat this problem, especially in certain conditions or situations where there is a higher risk of clogged blood vessels in the brain.”

Anesthesia, Stroke, And Heart Attacks Affect the Blood Flow in the Brain

The researchers know that there are different factors that can affect the blood flow in the brain: stroke, heart attacks, or extended periods under anesthesia during surgery.

Resson added that they have only made the first step:

“Understanding how and why you lose these capillaries is the first step. This is the first time that we’ve been able to explain why this loss of blood vessels occurs.”

The next step is to continue more detailed research. Researchers now want to find out the role of the protein that cuts off the clogged capillaries. The more they know about these processes, the closer they can get to finding a treatment, explained Reeson.

Rex Austin

Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere