MONTRÉAL PREMIÈRE

MONTRÉAL PREM1ÈRE

develop a training program increasing brain plasticity in Alzheimer’s disease

The latest, pioneering studies of Dr. Sylvie Belleville, from Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, show that brain plasticity can be stimulated to tackle the early signs of Alzheimer's disease. Her team has developed a unique neuropsychological training program which reduces memory losses associated with Alzheimer’s. The patients that completed this experimental protocol involving mnemonic methods improved their memory by 33%. This study was published in the very prestigious journal Brain. It demonstrated with neuroimaging methods that Dr. Belleville’s training program increases brain plasticity. They showed that, in patients with mild cognitive impairment (phase preceding the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease), it is not only possible to reactivate affected brain regions in memory tasks, but also that new brain areas are compensating for the affected neuronal networks. This surprising revival of brain activity seems to explain the improved mnemonic performance displayed by these patients. Dr. Belleville’s work thus highlights that the brain can reorganize itself to deal with Alzheimer's disease and opens a new avenue for the development of more effective approaches for Alzheimer’s disease, aimed at improving memory and preserving the autonomy of those at risk.

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