July 8, 2019

Seizures May Reduce Brain Cell Production, Result in Poor Spatial Discrimination, Mouse Study Suggests

Spontaneous seizures reduce the production of new brain cells, and result in poor spatial discrimination — a common occurrence in people with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a mouse study. The study, “Early Seizure Activity Accelerates Depletion of Hippocampal Neural Stem Cells and Impairs Spatial Discrimination in an Alzheimer’s Disease Model,” was published in Cell Reports.

As disease progresses, Alzheimer’s patients may lose their perception of depth. They can misjudge distances, or changes in height, and have trouble distinguishing between two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, researchers say. An exact mechanism has not been identified as the trigger for these visuospatial problems. But one hypothesis on the table points to disturbances in the production of new nerve cells by neural stem cells, or neurogenesis, within the adult hippocampus — a brain region crucial for memory formation and cognition. For a long time, neurogenesis was thought to solely occur during embryonic development. However, evidence now indicates neurogenesis does occur in the hippocampus of adults.

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