There is a growing body of research demonstrating that vascular health and brain health are closely linked. For example, something called the “blood-brain barrier” acts as a sort of shield between the brain and the rest of the body, shielding the brain from toxic chemicals found in the blood. This barrier can become damaged as a person ages, and this damage often begins at the hippocampus (the brain’s center for learning and memory).
Neuroscientists at the University of Southern California have discovered that brain scans may have the ability to reveal blood vessel changes that occur in the hippocampus prior to the onset of dementia. Developing strategies to protect the blood vessels in the hippocampus and reseal the blood-brain barrier may be a key to preventing various types of dementia (including Alzheimer’s).