After eight years of work, the ICB UNAB neurobiologist and her team have made findings that allow us to understand how neurons maintain healthy active circuits. In a scenario where the aging of the population has accelerated, this knowledge may be key to generating new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.
Felipe Salazar Maulen, UNAB Journalist.- Chile is heading towards a very advanced stage of aging. In 1992, the group of people aged 60 and over was equivalent to 9.5% of the total population of the country and, in 2022, to 18.1%. If the projections of the National Statistics Institute, in 2050 older adults will represent 32.1% of the total population.
Along with the opportunities for society to reach an average life expectancy of 85 years, this comes with new challenges. And one of them is related to the changes in the epidemiological profile of Chileans, with a growing incidence of cognitive disorders. Some two hundred thousand people live with some form of dementia in our country.
He Institute of Biomedical Sciences of the Andrés Bello University has taken on the challenge of this new reality and has placed itself at the frontier of scientific development, with research in the area of neuroscience that is helping the community to understand the neurodegenerative processes behind diseases such as Alzheimer’s wave Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Within this framework —and after eight years of research— the ICB UNAB neurobiologist, Dr. Francisca Bronfmantogether with his team, made important discoveries that are part of the context of the brain or neural plasticity. This refers to the processes that allow the connection between neurons that form circuits in the nervous systemand that would be the basis of different physiological processes that allow, for example, to store or learn new skills.
In simple terms, the findings of the study, which was published in the prestigious scientific journal eLife, allow us to understand how neurons maintain healthy active circuits.