Daydreaming linked to Alzheimer’s
The parts of the brain that young, healthy people use when daydreaming are the same areas that fail in people who have Alzheimer’s disease, researchers have reported.
The study, published in the Aug. 24 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that the way people use their brains could lead to Alzheimer’s disease. The relationships do not yet suggest that daydreaming is dangerous, but further research may shed light on the relationship, the report said.
Researchers used five imaging techniques including positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study the brain activity of 764 volunteers, including those with Alzheimer’s, those close to developing dementia and healthy people.
When people are concentrating on a task such as reading or talking, the brain uses one set of regions, but during downtime it switches to a default mode.
“The regions of the brain we tend to use in our default state when we are young are very similar to the regions where plaques form in older people with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Randy Buckner, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at Washington University in St. Louis who led the study.