A team of researchers at Harvard Medical School have just come up with a new hypothesis that could have major implications for preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. The study was published yesterday in the AAAS journal, Science Translational Medicine.
The research looks at a specific protein called amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) that is considered a key player in Alzheimer’s disease and originally thought to cause neuronal death. However, the new study suggests that the Aβ protein acts as a natural antibiotic to prevent bacteria from getting into the brain and that the remnants of this defense lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.
Did you know that scent is the only one of the five classical senses whose signal goes directly to the brain? Or that some people claim to recall experiencing odors while dreaming? Or that new studies indicate that processing different types of odors may improve the plight of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease? Or that a new phone app will soon deliver a variety of aromas to improve your mood while driving?
All of this and more was presented by inventor and Harvard professor David A. Edwards, Ph.D., the featured speaker in “What Emotion Smells Like,” the most recent topic in the Brainwave Series at the Rubin Museum in New York City. With his curly hair, thin frame, energy, and enthusiasm, I imagined Edwards as the son of Emmet “Doc” Brown, the fictional mastermind behind time travel in the Back to the Future films. Edwards’s mission, as he put it, is “to deliver the immersive and magical experiences of scent digitally.”
Exercise can help treat depression by increasing serotonin in the brain, lower blood sugar by increasing metabolism, reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack by increasing blood flow and improving heart health, and combat Alzheimer’s dementia and cognitive decline due to aging. With all these benefits to the brain, it is important to teach kids the importance of incorporating exercise into our daily lives.
Eric H. Chudler, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at the University of Washington and executive director of the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, is dedicated to educating children about the brain. His most recent project is a new video for his BrainWorks series for kids called “Exercise and the Brain,” which highlights the importance of exercise for a healthy brain. Past videos include Neuroscience for Kids and Kids & Sports Related Concussions.