In brief

June 2016   Comments

Turning up the heat on Alzheimer’s disease

The drop in body temperature associated with aging could aggravate the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, suggests a study published in Neurobiology of Aging. The University of Laval researchers used transgenic mice that have Alzheimer’s disease symptoms as they age; memory problems begin to arise in these mice at the age of six months. The investigators discovered that the transgenic mice were less able than normal mice to effectively maintain their body temperature as they aged. By 12 months, there was about a full degree Celsius difference. They observed that the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease were markedly more pronounced in the transgenic mice than in the normal mice when they were exposed to low temperatures, whereas exposure to a high ambient temperature reduced some symptoms of the disease.

The researchers say that the findings are convincing enough to warrant further investigation in humans. The treatment of thermoregulation among seniors with Alzheimer’s disease would be relatively easy to implement because body temperature can be increased through physical activity, diet or drugs or simply by adjusting the thermostat.

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