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AD/PD 2023 | Factors contributing to the vulnerability in early Alzheimer’s disease

Alexander J. Ehrenberg, PhD candidate, University of California, Berkeley, CA, discusses potential reasons for the vulnerability of neuromodulatory subcortical system (NSS) nuclei, regions seen to be affected by early degenerative changes in Alzheimer’s disease. This is potentially due to their anatomic features and positioning in the brain. The subcortical nuclei have the longest and most widespread projections in the brain due to their core function in producing key nerve transmitters for the entire brain. Furthermore, due to their positioning close circumventricular organs – highly vascularized structures characterized by their lack of blood-brain-barrier – they vulnerable to neurovascular contributors to neurodegeneration. Recent studies have also been investigating the effects of pollution on these regions, as well as lifestyle factors such as PTSD, given the role of NSS nuclei as key stress regulators in the brain. This interview took place at the AD/PD™ 2023 congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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AJE has received support for travel from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation and Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen, has received consulting fees from Epiodyne Inc., holds stock in Eiger Biopharmecuticals, is a Science Editor for “Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association”, and serves on the executive committee for the Neuromodulatory Subcortical Systems PIA of ISTAART.