Decreased blood flow and blood oxygen levels to the hippocampus may explain symptoms of memory loss associated with Alzheimer's. Researchers say increasing hippocampal blood flow could reverse or protect against symptoms of the neurodegenerative disorder.
Pregnant women exposed to nitrates through household drinking water had, on average, babies that weighed ten grams less than women with no exposure to nitrates in drinking water. High levels of nitrate in tap water can cause infant methemoglobinemia, a fatal condition in newborns.
Researchers directly measured oxygen levels in an intact brain and correlated it with neural activity. During normal activity, only 50% of oxygen is used for neural activity, the remaining 50% is required for glial cells and maintaining the metabolic rate of other nerve cells.
Cognitive challenges trigger a slight oxygen deficit in hippocampal pyramidal neurons. This increases the production of erythropoietin (Epo) and its receptors in the active neurons, stimulating neighboring precursor cells to form new neurons and enhancing connectivity.