Researchers identify possible treatment window for memory problems

February 27, 2013

Researchers have identified a possible treatment window of several years for plaques in the brain that are thought to cause memory loss in diseases such as Alzheimer's. The Mayo Clinic study is published in the Feb. 27 online issue of Neurology.

"Our study suggests that plaques in the brain that are linked to a decline in memory and thinking abilities, called beta amyloid, take about 15 years to build up and then plateau," says lead author Clifford Jack, Jr., M.D., a Mayo Clinic radiologist, and the Alexander Family Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research at Mayo Clinic.

For the study, 260 people ages 70 to 92 had two or more brain scans over an average of 1.3 years to measure in their brains. Of the participants, 22 percent had impaired thinking abilities or memory at the start of the study.

The study found that the rate of buildup accelerates initially, then slows before plateauing at high levels. The rate of was highest in those with mid-range levels at the start of the study. Those with low levels or high levels of the plaques as the study began had lower rates of plaque buildup.

The study also found that the rate of buildup of plaques was more closely tied to the total amount of in the brain than other risk factors, such as the level of cognitive impairment, age and the presence of the , a gene linked to Alzheimer's disease.

"Our results suggest that there is a long treatment window where medications may be able to help slow buildup of the amyloid plaques that are linked to ," Dr. Jack says. "On the other hand, trying to treat the plaque buildup after the amyloid plaque load has plateaued may not do much good."

Explore further: Plaque build-up in your brain may be more harmful than having Alzheimer's gene

Related Stories

Plaque build-up in your brain may be more harmful than having Alzheimer's gene

October 15, 2012
A new study shows that having a high amount of beta amyloid or "plaques" in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease may cause steeper memory decline in mentally healthy older people than does having the APOE ɛ4 allele, ...

Clue to cause of Alzheimer's dementia found in brain samples

October 22, 2012
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found a key difference in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease and those who are cognitively normal but still have brain plaques that characterize ...

Study identifies chemical changes in brains of people at risk for Alzheimer's disease

August 24, 2011
A brain imaging scan identifies biochemical changes in the brains of normal people who might be at risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to research published in the August 24, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical ...

Recommended for you

Scientists discover common obesity and diabetes drug reduces rise in brain pressure

August 23, 2017
Research led by the University of Birmingham, published today in Science Translational Medicine, has discovered that a drug commonly used to treat patients with either obesity or Type II diabetes could be used as a novel ...

Use of brain-computer interface, virtual avatar could help people with gait disabilities

August 23, 2017
Researchers from the University of Houston have shown for the first time that the use of a brain-computer interface augmented with a virtual walking avatar can control gait, suggesting the protocol may help patients recover ...

Researcher working to develop new tool for non-invasive neuromodulation of human brain

August 23, 2017
A UTA researcher is developing a technology that will map and image the effects of infrared light shone on the human brain that may be able to modulate and improve brain waves and circuits at certain spots in the brain.

Physicist reports binary marker of preclinical and clinical Alzheimer's disease

August 23, 2017
A new technique shows high potential for providing a discrete, non-invasive biomarker of Alzheimer's disease (AD) at the individual level during both preclinical and clinical stages. The proposed biomarker has a large effect ...

Firing of neurons changes the cells that insulate them

August 22, 2017
Through their pattern of firing, neurons influence the behavior of the cells that upon maturation will provide insulation of neuronal axons, according to a new study publishing 22 August in the open access journal PLOS Biology ...

Activating brain region creates intense desire to use cocaine

August 22, 2017
Researchers have identified a portion of the brain that intensifies one's desire for certain rewards—in this case, mimicking addiction to cocaine.

0 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.