Earlier this week I posted about a new treatment for Type I Diabetes from a researcher at Tel Aviv University.
Today another bright researcher at Tel Aviv University just might have found an early detection method for still another disease: Alzheimer's.
When we absorb new information, the human brain reshapes itself to store this newfound knowledge. But where exactly is the new knowledge kept, and how does that capacity to adapt reflect our risk for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of senile dementia later in our lives?2 scientific breakthroughs in one week while the Saudis are still working on their camel urine formulas or dipping the wings of flies into their tea.
Dr. Yaniv Assaf of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Neurobiology is pioneering a new way to track the effect of memory on brain structure. “With a specific MRI methodology called ‘Diffusion Imaging MRI,’ we can investigate the microstructure of the tissue without actually cutting into it,” he explains. “We can measure how much capacity our brain has to change structurally, what our memory reserve is and where that happens.”
His study, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Human Brain Mapping Organization in San Francisco, has been pivotal to the way scientists view the effect of memory on the brain. Scientists used to believe that the brain took days or weeks to change its microstructure. Dr. Assaf’s new observations demonstrate that the microstructure can change in mere hours.
“It gives us a quantifiable measure of the plasticity of each individual brain,” he says. “It’s possible that before a person experiences any memory loss, the plasticity is affected –– that is, the ability of one’s brain to adapt to change. A lack of ability for change in the brain could mean susceptibility to dementia. Now, we have the means to monitor this ability.”
Read the full story here.
I really should start a count of Israeli Medical Advances. Perhaps after the Jewish New Year.