NYC Healthcare News



This Brain Awareness Week, Canadians are urged to take control and protect their health

August 09, 2015

"This elegant study illustrates that amyloid plaques are only a component of the disease process in Alzheimer's disease, in that that there are many people who have the plaques but not the disease. These data raise a number of important questions," comments Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "What is missing from the disease process or what protective factors are present among people who have amyloid deposition in plaques but who appear to be without Alzheimer's disease? If the amyloid plaques were eliminated in the healthy elderly, would their brain circuitry function normalize?"

These questions are important and timely as a number of approaches for reducing brain amyloid beta protein levels are currently being tested, including antibodies that might bind to and promote the clearance of amyloid beta protein as well as drugs that inhibit amyloid beta protein synthesis. If amyloid beta protein is only part of the biology of Alzheimer's disease, it may be difficult to predict the extent to which these novel treatments might work.

According to Dr. Yvette Sheline, Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology at Washington University and lead author on the study, "the important thing about this study is that none of the participants had cognitive or behavioral abnormalities. This indicates that Alzheimer's disease likely begins quietly, clinically undetected, but still slowly eroding brain networks." Thus, these findings further underscore the importance of being able to identify individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, and will aid researchers as they continue to work to understand the disruption in brain functioning associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Source: Elsevier