New Evidence that Links Lower Serotonin Levels to Dementia

John Hopkins University School of Medicine have published a study that links evidence of lower levels of serotonin transports, to the brain scans of people with mild loss of thought and memory ability.

Previous studies have shown that in people with Alzheimer’s and of those experiencing  severe cognitive decline, there is an obvious and severe lack of serotonin neurons. Whether or not these reductions were a result of these conditions was unclear. However, new research has suggested that lower serotonin transporters may be facilitators of conditions such as Alzheimer’s, rather than a byproduct.

28 participants underwent PET and MRI scans to measure brain structures and levels of the serotonin transporter. Researchers found a correlation between the participants who had lower serotonin transporters and the participants who scored low in the memory tests.

Accordingly, the John Hopkins research team are now conducting research into whether or not PET imaging of serotonin could be a marker for detecting progression of Alzheimer’s. However, it is still unclear whether or not the scans could be used alone to determine deterioration, or have to be used alongside other scans that detect amyloid accumulation.  

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