CHICAGO, May 26 (UPI) — U.S. medical investigators say they’ve discovered how brain capillaries get rid of debris such as blood clots — they “spit out” the blockage.
Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine said they found capillaries spit out debris that blocks the flow of essential nutrients to brain cells by growing a membrane that envelopes the obstruction and then shoves it out of the blood vessel.
The scientists said they also determined the process is up to 50 percent slower in an aging brain and likely results in the death of more capillaries.
“The slowdown may be a factor in age-related cognitive decline and may also explain why elderly patients who get strokes do not recover as well as younger patients,” said Assistant Professor Jaime Grutzendler, who led the study. “Their recovery is much slower.”
The study with mice, funded by the National Institute on Aging, appears in the May 27 issue of the journal Nature.
Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.