While recent studies have found how things like diet and exercise can help consumers’ keep their memory sharp, a new study conducted by researchers from the German Center for Neurodegenerative Disease found yet another factor that can affect consumers’ memory function: their blood.
According to the researchers, having a stronger blood supply in the brain was an indicator that consumers had better memory skills, particularly for those who were aging.
“Our study shows a clear link between blood supply to the hippocampus and cognitive performance,” said researcher Stefanie Schreiber. “This suggests that brain blood flow might play a key role in the declining of memory performance, whether caused by age or disease.”
Understanding the brain
To see how the blood supply in the brain affects consumers’ memory, the researchers had nearly 50 participants involved in the study, all of whom were between the ages of 45 and 89.
The study had two primary components. The participants’ went through a number of tests to assess their overall cognitive functioning; the researchers also administered MRI scans of their brains to understand what role their biology played in their memory performance.
The researchers’ focused their MRIs on the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memories. Schreiber explained that the blood supply through the hippocampus can vary from person to person.
“It has been known for some time that the hippocampus is supplied by either one or two arteries,” she said. “It also happens that only one of the two hippocampi, which occur in every brain, is supplied by two vessels. This varies between individuals. The reasons are unknown.”
The study revealed that this difference in blood flow greatly affected how the participants fared on the cognitive portion of the study, as those who had a greater blood supply going to the hippocampus had better memory function than those who had just the one supply source going to the memory center of their brains.
Blood supply tied to lifestyle
As it stands now, the researchers are unsure why this difference in arteries exists in consumers, though they explain that there could be genetic or lifestyle factors that come into play.
Moving forward, they plan to dig even deeper into this area to better understand how these findings can eventually lead to a prevention plan or treatment method for those struggling with memory function.
“At present we can only speculate, because we don’t know, but it is possible that lifestyle has an influence on the formation of blood vessels that supply the hippocampus,” Schreiber said. “This would then be a factor that can be influenced and thus a potential approach for therapies and also for prevention.”