Low Serotonin in Brain May Explain Cognitive Impairment, Johns Hopkins Study Shows

Low Serotonin in Brain May Explain Cognitive Impairment, Johns Hopkins Study Shows
Johns Hopkins researchers looked at brain scans and discovered that lower levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin underlie the mild loss of cognitive functions that usually precede the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. These findings suggest that preventing the loss of serotonin could halt or even prevent the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and potentially other dementias. The study, “Molecular imaging of serotonin degeneration in mild cognitive impairment,” was published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease. "Now that we have more evidence that serotonin is a chemical that appears affected early in cognitive decline, we suspect that increasing serotonin function in the brain could prevent memory loss from getting worse and slow disease progression," Gwenn Smith, PhD, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and study first author, said in a press release. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that controls many functions within our body, including mood, sleep, and appetite. Marked loss of serotonin nerve cells (or neurons) is a phenomenon that characterizes diseases associated with a severe cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s
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