Why Some People Have Markers for Alzheimer's But No Dementia

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Researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston have discovered why some people who have brain markers of Alzheimer's don’t develop classic dementia typically associated with the disease. Results of their study are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

In people with Alzheimer's disease — the most common type of dementia — plaques of amyloid beta proteins and neurofibrillary tangles of tau proteins build up in the brain and impair communications between nerve cells. The goal of this study was to determine why some people with plaques and tangles don’t experience cognitive decline and dementia during their lifetime.

The researchers analyzed the protein composition of donated frozen brain tissue samples obtained after death from people who had previously undergone brain imaging studies and neurological and neuropsychological evaluations. They divided study participants into three groups: those with Alzheimer's dementia, those with Alzheimer's brain features but no signs of dementia, and those without evidence of Alzheimer's and found that people with Alzheimer’s markers who didn’t develop dementia had a unique synaptic protein signature that set them apart from both of the other groups and enabled them to maintain cognitive function.

Sourced from: Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease