Glia cells are also responsible for regulating learning and memory, according to a new study at the University of Tel Aviv.
The cells, which hold the brains neurons together and protect the cells that determine thoughts and behaviours, have also been found to be central to the brain’s plasticity – how
the brain adapts, learns and stores information.
According to researchers, a mechanism within the glia cells sorts information for learning purposes.
De Pittà, lead researcher on the study, explained: "Glia cells are like the brain's supervisors. By regulating the synapses, they control the transfer of information between
neurons, affecting how the brain processes information and learns."
It is hoped that this discovery will lead to more targeted treatments for the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Glia cells are also instrumental in other forms of dementia, such as Parkinson’s disease, and are thought to help the brain stay healthy.
Previous research has speculated that statins may be useful in protecting against brain degeneration, by stimulating glia cells.
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