Excerpt of article by Mark Michaud-Rochester | University of Rochester
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Traumatic brain injury can keep young brains from flushing away waste, causing a build-up of toxic proteins. The results mirror what happens in the aging brain and may set the stage for dementia.
“We know that traumatic brain injury early in life is a risk factor for the early development of dementia in the decades that follow,” says Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine at the University of Rochester.
“This study shows that these injuries set into motion a cascading series of events that impair the brain’s ability to clear waste, allowing proteins like tau to spread throughout the brain and eventually reach toxic levels.”
The brain is essentially closed off from the rest of the body by a complex system of molecular gateways, called the blood-brain barrier, that tightly control what enters and exits the brain. Consequently, the body’s normal waste removal system doesn’t extend to the brain.
As with the rest of the body, the timely removal of brain waste is essential to prevent the unchecked accumulation of toxic proteins and other debris. However, until recently no one was entirely sure how the brain does it.
Thanks to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and American Heart Association for funding the study; Mark Michaud-Rochester for writing the article; University of Rochester conducting the study; Journal of Neuroscience for publishing the study result; Futurity for committing its resources to publishing the article; Google for helping me find the article; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.