Dr. Shai Shoham

In this Section:

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Epilepsy and Caloric Restriction & Aging

Brain Anatomy in Psychiatric Disorders


Study of brain anatomy in aging and neurodegenerative diseases

Understanding the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration is essential for developing effective treatments. One type of mechanism involves loss of nerve cells in brain structures with specific psychological and neurological functions. In each neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease, there is a distinct set of brain structures in which nerve cells degenerate. Many of the neurological and psychological deficits in AD and PD may be traced to the anatomical distribution of degeneration in brain.

The course of my research led to focus on how oxidative stress and its interaction with excitatory amino acids cause damage to specific brain structures. The anatomical distribution of brain iron provides an important clue. This investigation led to my study of the role of iron in other neurological diseases such as Epilepsy. It also led to my interest in caloric restriction as an approach for controlling oxidative stress in aging-associated neurological diseases and in models that explore the relation between oxidative stress and myelin loss.

Study of brain anatomy in psychiatric diseases

When a human or an animal is faced with a threat to survival, there are systems in brain that organize immediate adaptive reactions. These systems organize both emotional and motor components of psychological stress responses. Each of these systems consists of a number of inter-connected brain regions.

Understanding how these systems work should help in treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Another line of my research examines interactions between brain systems controlling emotional and motor aspects of psychiatric disorders not necessarily in relation to experience of a stressful event.

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