Memory performance and other cognitive abilities benefit from a good blood supply to the brain. This applies in particular to people affected by a condition known as “sporadic cerebral small vessel disease”. Researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and the University Medicine Magdeburg report on this in the journal “BRAIN”. Their study suggests that blood perfusion of the so-called hippocampus could play a key role in age- and disease-related memory problems.
Inside the human brain there is a small structure, just a few cubic centimeters in size, which is called the “hippocampus” because its shape resembles a seahorse. Strictly speaking, the hippocampus exists twice: once in each brain hemisphere. It is considered the control center of memory. Damage to the hippocampus, such as it occurs in Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases, is known to impair memory. But what role does blood supply in particular play? A team of scientists headed by Prof. Stefanie Schreiber and Prof. Emrah Duezel, both affiliated to the DZNE and the University Medicine Magdeburg, investigated this question. The researchers used high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the blood supply to the hippocampus of 47 women and men aged 45 to 89 years. The study participants also underwent a neuropsychological test battery, which assessed, in particular, memory performance, speech comprehension and the ability to concentrate.