Brain "Plaque" Linked to Memory Decline
Having a high amount of “plaques” in the brain seems to cause serious mental decline in otherwise mentally healthy people, a new study shows.
In the study, conducted at the University of Melbourne in Australia, researchers analyzed 141 people who were free of mental problems. The subjects, with an average age of 76, underwent a brain scan as well as an eighteen-month followup. Those who had more brain plaques (also known as beta amyloid) experienced a memory decline of up to 20 percent when compared with those who had fewer brain plaques.
Study author Yen Ying Lim said the discovery could bring about better treatment for mentally healthy adults who show some cognitive decline. He also said the study could help in the analysis of early Alzheimer’s, which may go undetected, by testing for brain plaques. “This provides an enormous opportunity for understanding the development of early Alzheimer’s disease and even a sound basis for the assessment of plaque-targeting therapies,” Lim said in a statement.
The findings appeared in the journal “Neurology.”