It's not just amyloid: White matter hyperintensities and Alzheimer's disease

(Medical Xpress)—New findings by Columbia researchers suggest that along with amyloid deposits, white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) may be a second necessary factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Most current approaches to Alzheimer's disease focus on the accumulation of amyloid plaque in the brain. The researchers at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the , led by Adam M. Brickman, PhD, assistant professor of neuropsychology, examined the additional contribution of small-vessel cerebrovascular disease, which they visualized as white matter hyperintensities (WMHs).

The study included 20 subjects with clinically defined Alzheimer's disease, 59 subjects with , and 21 normal control subjects. Using data from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative public database, the researchers found that amyloid and WHMs were equally associated with an Alzheimer's diagnosis. Amyloid and WMHs were also equally predictive of which subjects with mildcognitive impairment would go on to develop Alzheimer's. Among those with significant amyloid, WMHs were more prevalent in those with Alzheimer's than in normal control subjects.

Because the risk factors for WMHs—which are mainly vascular—can be controlled, the findings suggest potential ways to prevent the development of Alzheimer's in those with .

" and Cerebral Amyloidosis" was published online today in JAMA Neurology.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Alzheimer's disease linked to heart's effect on the brain

Feb 27, 2015

The prevailing medical wisdom that Alzheimer's Disease has its origins in the brain has a radical and disputed rival with shocking implications for medicine's relentless efforts to forestall disease, ageing and death, according ...

A new understanding of Alzheimer's

Feb 26, 2015

Although natural selection is often thought of as a force that determines the adaptation of replicating organisms to their environment, Harvard researchers have found that selection also occurs at the level ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.