Dolphins suspected of Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists have found changes in the brains of marine mammals that are similar to those that occur in the brains of people with dementia. Does this mean that a person has only dementia?

European journal notes of Neuroscience that researchers are interested in this issue no less than the causes of the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Because brain diseases cause patients to gradually lose their memory and ability to locate and take care of themselves.

Researchers in Scotland have studied the brain tissue of dolphins found on the beach and found pathological changes in them very similar to those that occur in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers believe that cognitive decline may be the reason why whales and dolphins are stranded on beaches. Because it is possible that the leader of the herd is heading with his followers to shallow water, because he can no longer distinguish directions due to Alzheimer’s disease.

Remarkably, in 2018, scientists found the first evidence that animals’ brains were infected with Alzheimer’s-like diseases after examining the brains of animals found in shallow waters off the coast of Scotland.

Diseases found include amyloid plaques, accumulation of tau protein nodules, and brain damage known as gliosis. It’s a process similar to the scarring of damaged skin, but in the brain, helper cells replace dead neurons, creating a “scar”.

However, researchers cannot confirm that these animals suffered from the cognitive impairments commonly associated with dementia.

But this study provides strong evidence for the “sick leader syndrome” hypothesis, which is often used to explain why whales and dolphins wash ashore. This hypothesis states that its cognitively impaired leader may lead the herd into shallow water, from where it cannot return to the sea.

The researchers highlight the need to conduct research on the relationship between mass mortality of marine mammals and dementia of their leader in particular.

Source: News. EN