Many things about chronic cerebral hypoperfusion (CCH) are a mystery. We know that it can cause vascular dementia, but we’re not sure how. We know that CCH contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease, but, again, we are not sure how. We are more certain of its causes: often people who suffer from cerebral vascular disorders develop CCH. It has to do with how blood flows through the veins. Blood is responsible for supplying oxygen to the brain, and when it isn’t flowing properly a whole host of problems arise.
Oxidative stress isn’t the only mechanism through which CCH can impair cognitive functioning. Studies also point to, among others, synaptic dysfunction, neural loss, legions in white matter and inflammation. With such a broad range of problems associated with CCH, it is challenging to pinpoint exactly how the ailment leads to vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Fortunately, we don’t need to completely understand the process in order to treat it. Studies often find that drugs are able to help people suffering from illness without a full understanding of the processes at work. Though, of course, we would ultimately like to know exactly what is going on at the cellular level, for people who are suffering, relief is a more pressing matter.
For patients with CCH, Oxiracetam may help to relieve symptoms. More impressively, it may counteract against cognitive impairment that has already been caused by CCH. At least that’s what researchers from the Central hospital of Zhengzhou and the Renmin hospital of Wuhan University report. They conducted a rat-based study that involved behavior analysis, histopathological staining and transmission electron microscope as a means to testing Oxiracetam’s impact on post-CCH cognitive functioning.
The researchers found that rats who had been given Oxiracetam experienced improved functioning. Moreover, the treatments prevented neural plasticity dysfunction and white matter legions. Though more research is required to examine whether these results hold true in the human brain, these preliminary findings are encouraging.