Neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease are characterized by the significant, progressive loss of neurons and nerve endings, or synapses, in the brain. Now, a study conducted by French and Canadian researchers challenges this classification of Alzheimer’s and suggests the disease actually results in very limited neuron loss and may not be a neurodegenerative condition after all.
The researchers examined more than 170 people at various stages of Alzheimer’s and discovered only minor reductions in eight neuronal and synaptic markers. They also found that these declines had little impact on dementia levels.
According to the researchers, Alzheimer’s symptoms stem from faulty synapses in the brain’s cortex and not the loss of these synapses. These findings, which were published in Scientific Reports, could lead to the development of more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s.