New insights into learning, memory and brain disease can now be seen in the second by second changes in the brain’s pH activity. A healthy body must be alkaline at the proper pH.

Even normal brain signals can bring about pH changes, but scientists have been unable to understand why. They do know that if the brain is deprived of oxygen it can alter the brain’s pH levels. They also know that, acidic neurotransmitters or lactic acid, a metabolic by-product can affect even normal brain activity.

We can become overly acidic from the food and drink we take in, and this can make our bodies and our brains toxic. Many diseases, like acid reflux; skin disorders like  psoriasis, and eczema; and other autoimmune diseases – like fibromyalgia, arthritis, and lupus, can be helped by making our bodies more alkaline and less acidic in order to get to the proper ph balance.

There has been a lack of technology to measure pH activity non-invasively in the high spatial and temporal regions of the brain. With the development of a form of MRI (magnetic imaging scanner) called MR spectroscopy, neuroscientists are able to detect differences in the spin of protons in tissues according to the amount of water in the tissue.

Now, a new form of MRI, T1ρ MRI, analyses the interaction between spinning protons and other ions in a solution, which changes under different pHs. By making some minor tweaks, researchers Vincent Magnotta and his colleagues at the University of Iowa in Iowa City have been able to measure multiple levels at the same time, and detect changes in brain acidity happening over seconds.

Using the technique, they have shown that normal brain activity can trigger local changes in pH – until now only speculated about. It also is able to provide insight through the use of pH imaging to detect early signs of degenerative diseases.

Studies in mice have also uncovered pH-sensitive receptors in brain areas involved in emotion and memory – although their function is something of a mystery. “If these receptors are activated by pH change, it’s possible that abnormalities in this system could lead to changes in learning, memory and mood,” says Vincent Magnotta at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.



About the author:

Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life.



New Scientist – Speedy PH changes in the brain detected for the first time:

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Detecting Activity-evoked pH changes in human brain: