The Secret To Ward Off Cognitive Brain Decline-Backed By Science

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A new study (July 2020) at Tokyo University Of Science confirmed that Oxytocin positively enhance and support learning and memory performance

Photo by Bret Kavanaugh on Unsplash

A new study in Tokyo, Japan confirmed that oxytocin is able to reduce the level of amyloid plaque in the brains of patients with Alzheimer. This is exciting news, and as Professor Akiyoshi Saitoh of Tokyo University of Science remarked:

‘’This is the first study in the world that has shown that oxytocin can reverse Amyloid-beta induced impairment in mouse hippocampus’’

What Is Amyloid Plague And Why Is It Deadly?

The body naturally produces fragments of proteins (known as Amyloids) in the membranes surrounding the neurons (nerve cells). Some of the molecules (particularly amyloid beta-plaques) are adhesive and are able to stick together and form plaques, which are insoluble and hard in nature.

For a healthy person, these plaques get broken down and are eliminated during normal body activities. However, in persons with Alzheimer, these plaques form a cluster and settle between brain cells, thereby impairing the connection between neurons (nerve cells).

This happens in the area of the brain with cognitive functions, that is the area that concerns memory and learning (called the hippocampus). This, therefore, promotes neurodegeneration and memory loss. It affects the ability of these brain cells to transmit signals properly – a process, known as synaptic plasticity.

Synaptic Plasticity signifies the ability of the neurons to adapt to different signalling over time. This adaptation is critical to learning and memory retention in the hippocampus.

How The Experiment Was Carried Out

The experiment was carried out in laboratory mice, to determine whether oxytocin has a positive effect in the clearing the build-up of amyloid-beta plaque in these mice. This is after confirming that amyloid-beta impairs synaptic plasticity.

They then added oxytocin to the brain and were able to confirm that oxytocin did, in fact, reverse the impairment of the synapsis.

To be doubly sure, they block oxytocin receptors in the brain and discovered that the oxytocin hormone was no able to reverse the damage to synaptic plasticity.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Oxytocin And Calcium Absorption

In the second part of the experiments, they looked closely into the mineral CALCIUM. This is because amyloid-beta plaque suppressed calcium absorption. Calcium plays a vital role in signalling and memory, and oxytocin is known to facilitate absorption of calcium ions into cells.

The researchers blocked the absorption of calcium ions into cells and discovered that oxytocin was not able to reverse the damage to synaptic plasticity. So they concluded that oxytocin was able to reverse the damage in the first place by supporting calcium absorption into the brain cells. Professor Saitoh said excitedly, 

‘’Our study puts forth the interesting possibility that oxytocin could be a novel therapeutic modality for the treatment of memory loss associated with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“We expect that our findings will open up a new pathway to the creation of new drugs for the treatment of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease.”

What Is Oxytocin And How Can You Boost Your Oxytocin Level In The Body?

Oxytocin is known as ‘’Love & Happiness Hormone’’ and acts a neurotransmitter in the brain. Oxytocin promotes the feeling of love and well-being and therefore essential in reproduction, childbirth, breastfeeding, social bonding and love-making.

There are other proven ways to boost the level of Oxytocin in the body, and these are:

  • Positive Interactions — both with people and animals. That is why having pets can have a significant impact on your health by boosting your level of oxytocin.
  • Practising yoga, mindfulness, and Tai Chi.
  • Expressing love, kindness and empathy to others.
  • Listening to music, like jazz, blues and classical.
  • Eating what you enjoy like chocolates.
  • Having a warm shower or bath.
  • Body massage and therapy.
  • Vitamin D & Magnesium — Sunshine — because oxytocin is also activated by vitamin D. To have an adequate intake of the mineral magnesium, eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
  • You can also supplement with these two.

Read More About the Tokyo University Of Science Experiment here:

Read More from Shin Jie Yong

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