A new study indicates that older people with signs of developing Alzheimer’s disease show thinner measurements of the outer edges of their brain. The recent finding can help researchers to test out certain medications for the said disease by giving them the means to track its progression. The study findings are published in the December 21 online issue of the journal Neurology.
Researchers from the Harvard Medical School focused on studying the thickness of the cortex, which lies on the edges of the brain. “We’re looking at the parts of the cortex that are particularly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease, parts that are important for memory, problem-solving skills and higher-language functions,” said Dr. Brad Dickerson, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and co-author of the study.
Alzheimer’s disease is considered as the 6th leading cause of death among the US population. The numbers have been seen to be steadily increasing in recent years. Currently, there is no cure yet discovered for this disease that usually affects people above 65 years old.
In the new study, the researchers analyzed the MRI brain scans of 159 people with an average age of 76 years old, with half of them males. After three years, the participants were also given tests to measure how their brains were functioning. The results of the study showed that 15 percent of the participants found with the thinnest brain measurements also performed the worst on tests. About one in five belonging in this group also showed signs of cognitive decline. They also showed signs of increasing levels of abnormal spinal fluid, considered as a possible sign of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, 7 percent of the participants that belong to in the middle range of brain thinness measurements showed signs of cognitive decline. Those with the least measurements in brain thickness did not develop problems.
Although there is no cure yet found for Alzheimer’s disease, the results of the study may help researchers in trying to discover certain medications that can effectively treat the said disease. The analysis of a patient MRI scans can help researchers eventually determine whether certain drugs work against Alzheimer’s disease.
Source: Yahoo News