As our brain ages, small lesions begin to appear in the bundles of white matter that carry messages between our neurons. Lesions can damage this white matter and cause cognitive impairment. Researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology are now explaining not only the location of these lesions, but also how they occur in the first place.
This work, led by Stevens Weikenmeier, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, brain More than a neural circuit that underpins how thoughts are formed and memories are created.It also Physical object Glitch and mechanical failure are likely to occur. “The brain is fragile, Vulnerable area“Especially in the aged brain, we need to look at its biomechanical properties to better understand how things go wrong,” Wykenmeier said.
These lesions are known as deep and periventricular white matter hyperintensity because they appear as bright white spots on MRI scans, but are not well understood. But they are not uncommon. Most people have some by the time they reach their 60s, and changes only increase with age. The more lesions that accumulate and the faster they grow, the more likely they are to have cognitive deficits, from memory to motor deficits.
Weickenmeier used MRI scans from eight healthy subjects in collaboration with Valley Visser, now a PhD student at the University of Zurich, and Henry Rusinek, a radiologist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Developed a separate computer model of the brain. The team mapped the strain on the ventricular wall, the inner wall of a fluid-filled chamber deep in the brain, as a wave of pressure pulses through the subject’s cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). They found that hyperintensities tended to occur near areas that had to be further extended to accommodate pressure changes in the circulating CSF. Because such areas wear lightly, CSF can leak into the brain and cause lesions.
” Cell wall A line that wears out the ventricles over time, like a balloon that inflates and contracts. Also, the stress is not uniform. Because it is defined by the shape of the ventricles, it is possible to predict where these disorders will occur. Occurs. ”
This model provides a simple physics-based explanation for the location of these lesions, revealing that mechanical loading “must be the leading cause of the development of the disease.”
Recently published team survey Scientific ReportsUsed 2D imaging to show a cross-section of the brain, but Weickenmeier’s team then expanded their research to a complete 3D model of the brain. Next, Weickenmeier wants to directly study the movement of the ventricular wall using advanced MRI techniques developed by Stevens.
In the long run, the team’s findings may enable the development of new treatments for lesions. Drug treatment usually has difficulty reaching the affected area across the blood-brain barrier, but new studies suggest that it may be possible to direct the drug directly to the lesion through a leak in the ventricular wall. “It’s still a long way to go and we didn’t study it directly,” Weikenmeier warned. “But that’s an interesting possibility.”
According to Weikenmeier, the broader point from the team’s research is that the aging process of the brain is mediated by physical processes such as circulating blood and cerebrospinal fluid pressure. This emphasizes the need for healthy behavior that can reduce the strain on the brain, such as exercising well and avoiding harmful substances.
Valery L. Visser et al, peak stretch of ependymal cells overlaps with the location of periventricular white matter lesions. Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-021-00610-1
Stevens Institute of Technology
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