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Date:12/31/2012

r's disease. These particular models have been extensively studied and scientists understand the precise timeframe in which the disease progresses over time.

At Brookhaven, the animals were exposed to various doses of radiation, including levels comparable to what astronauts would be experience during a mission to Mars. Back in Rochester, a team of researchers including URMC graduate student Jonathan Cherry, who was first author on the paper evaluated the cognitive and biological impact of the exposure. The mice underwent a series of experiments during which they had to recall objects or specific locations. The researchers observed that mice exposed to radiation were far more likely to fail these tasks suggesting neurological impairment earlier than these symptoms would typically appear.

The brains of the mice also showed signs of vascular alterations and a greater than normal accumulation of beta amyloid, the protein "plaque" that accumulates in the brain and is one of the hallmarks of the disease.

"These findings clearly suggest that exposure to radiation in space has the potential to accelerate the development of Alzheimer's disease," said O'Banion. "This is yet another factor that NASA, which is clearly concerned about the health risks to its astronauts, will need to take into account as it plans future missions."


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Contact: Mark Michaud
Mark_Michaud@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-4790
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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