From Medical Xpress:
White matter fiber architecture of the brain. Credit: Human Connectome Project.
A new study from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston fills an important gap in understanding the link between traumatic brain injury and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Previously, UTMB researchers found a toxic form of tau protein that increases after a traumatic brain injury that may contribute to development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a condition experienced by many professional athletes and military personnel. What remained a mystery was if this protein could cause dementia symptoms.
To test this hunch, the group isolated this protein from animals that had experienced a TBI and then injected it into another group of animals to see if they would develop impairments. The animals developed the same type of mental impairments caused by Alzheimer’s disease and these new findings can be found in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
“These findings provide direct evidence supporting our hypothesis that this form of toxic tau induces many of the symptoms of TBI and may be responsible for the increased risk for neurodegenerative disease and spread of impairments throughout the brain following TBI,” said Rakez Kayed, associate professor in the department of neurology and the Mitchell Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. “Because this form of tau plays an important role in the toxicity underlying TBI, it may be a viable therapeutic target. Further study is needed to explore this possibility.”
A TBI can happen after a sudden blow or jolt to the head or…