Neuron with excitatory contacts
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the slow, irreversible loss of cognitive function on a global scale marked by the inability to form new memories. The hippocampus, a part of the brain responsible for consolidating memories, is one of the first casualties in AD. Neurons die in part because of a phenomenon called excitotoxicity: The chronic, prolonged activation of neurons beyond the norm results in cell damage and death. Seen here is a neuron from the hippocampus (blue) with contacts that cause its activation (magenta). Drugs exist to inhibit excessive excitation in hopes of slowing the progress of AD.
Image by Dr. Kieran Boyle, University of Glasgow.