More diseases responsible for dementia than previously thought, research finds

September 19, 2013, Medical University of Vienna
More diseases responsible for dementia than previously thought, research finds

A recent study by the Clinical Institute of Neurology at the MedUni Vienna has shown that neurodegenerative diseases other than Alzheimer's disease are more common among older people than previously thought. Researchers believe that more personalised treatment may offer considerable opportunities to address this.

The Vienna Trans-Danube Aging (VITA) study has just been published in the September edition of the highly respected journal Acta Neuropathologica and has been created by researchers at the Medical University of Vienna, the SMZ-Ost Donauspital and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Gerontology. The study's primary author, Gabor G. Kovacs from the Clinical Institute of Neurology, sums up the key findings of the study as follows: "The VITA study shows that, in addition to the classic Alzheimer's-associated changes in the ageing brain, there are other that are characterised by protein deposits in the brain."

VITA study as the starting point for more personalised treatment concepts for patients with

The scientists also discovered that combinations of these "proteinopathies" with each other and with diseases of the are more common than previously assumed. According to Dr. Kovacs, some of these can lead to dementia progressing more quickly. However there also appear to be variations that are less "harmful" and which therefore progress less quickly.

Says Kovacs: "Further studies are therefore required in which patients will be monitored in order to determine which of the combinations are associated with more favourable or more deleterious prognoses for the patients." The authors also outline new conditions that are associated with dementia in the ageing brain. Kovacs believes that the factors identified in this context represent the starting point from which patients with dementia will in future be able to be offered more personalised and therefore more effective treatment.

Pan-European long-term study led by the MedUni Vienna

As part of the long-term VITA study which has been ongoing since 2000, a group of residents of Vienna's districts 21 and 22 who were born between May 1925 and June 1926 was investigated. Regular medical examinations were performed at Vienna's SMZ-Ost Donauspital. A total of 233 people who died at the Donauspital also underwent general pathological and specifically neuropathological examinations.

The VITA study is an important part of the ongoing EU project DEVELAGE. Under the supervision of the Institute of Neurology at the MedUni Vienna, eight partner centres from six European countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) are collaborating on the DEVELAGE project (www.develage.eu). The VITA study was initiated by a research group established by the MedUni Vienna and the Donauspital and led by Peter Fischer, Director of the Psychiatry Department at Vienna's SMZ-Ost Donauspital.

World Congress of Neurology in Vienna from 21st to 26th September 2013

At the end of September (21 to 26 September 2013), the international research elite will be converging on Vienna for the 21st World Congress of Neurology. The world's largest specialist conference on the subject of neurology will this year be inspired by the motto of "Neurology in the age of globalisation", and is being organised jointly by the WFN (World Federation of Neurology) and the ÖGN (Austrian Neurology Society) with the collaboration of the EFNS (European Federation of Neurological Societies). President of the congress is Eduard Auff, Head of the University Department of Neurology at the MedUni Vienna. More information on the World Congress of Neurology can be found at: www.wcn-.org

Explore further: Life without fits: New treatment for refractory epilepsies

More information: Kovacs, G. et al. Non-Alzheimer neurodegenerative pathologies and their combinations are more frequent than commonly believed in the elderly brain: a community-based autopsy series, Acta Neuropathol, 2013 Sep;126(3):365-84. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23900711

Related Stories

Life without fits: New treatment for refractory epilepsies

September 18, 2013
Through a joint project between the University Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the MedUni Vienna, a new treatment option has recently been launched that promises people with difficult-to-treat forms of epilepsy ...

'Foreign' proteins are also implicated in Alzheimer's disease, implications for differentiated treatments

September 24, 2012
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's are characterised by the loss of nerve cells and the deposition of proteins in the brain tissue. A group of researchers led by Gabor G. Kovacs from the Clinical ...

Parkinson's: Newly discovered antibody could facilitate early diagnosis

July 20, 2012
Conditions such as Parkinson’s disease are a result of pathogenic changes to proteins. In the neurodegenerative condition of Parkinson’s disease, which is currently incurable, the alpha-synuclein protein changes ...

Functional MRI provides support in operations on the brain

June 14, 2013
Researchers at the MedUni Vienna have proved in a so far unique multicenter study that clinical functional magnetic resonance tomography (fMRI), in the area in which the MedUni Vienna has a leading role internationally, is ...

'Risk calculator' developed for venous thromboses

August 14, 2013
In Austria, around 15,000 people a year develop a venous thrombosis, the occlusion of a vein that can result in a pulmonary embolism. A clot breaks free from a vein and travels via the bloodstream to the lungs, where it blocks ...

Disease gene discovered for frequent epilepsy in childhood

August 12, 2013
More than 50 million people worldwide have epilepsy, with a third of these being children. The most common forms of epilepsy in children occur without any apparent trigger and only affect certain regions of the brain. This ...

Recommended for you

Rocky start for Alzheimer's drug research in 2018

January 19, 2018
The year 2018, barely underway, has already dealt a series of disheartening blows to the quest for an Alzheimer's cure.

Alzheimer's disease: Neuronal loss very limited

January 17, 2018
Frequently encountered in the elderly, Alzheimer's is considered a neurodegenerative disease, which means that it is accompanied by a significant, progressive loss of neurons and their nerve endings, or synapses. A joint ...

Anxiety: An early indicator of Alzheimer's disease?

January 12, 2018
A new study suggests an association between elevated amyloid beta levels and the worsening of anxiety symptoms. The findings support the hypothesis that neuropsychiatric symptoms could represent the early manifestation of ...

One of the most promising drugs for Alzheimer's disease fails in clinical trials

January 11, 2018
To the roughly 400 clinical trials that have tested some experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease and come up short, we can now add three more.

Different disease types associated with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains found in Alzheimer's patients

January 9, 2018
An international team of researchers has found different disease type associations with distinct amyloid-beta prion strains in the brains of dead Alzheimer's patients. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National ...

Advances in brain imaging settle debate over spread of key protein in Alzheimer's

January 5, 2018
Recent advances in brain imaging have enabled scientists to show for the first time that a key protein which causes nerve cell death spreads throughout the brain in Alzheimer's disease - and hence that blocking its spread ...

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.