Alzheimer's disease 'disrupts several of the brain's networks'

20 September 2012

New research has looked to gain insight into how coordination among several of the brain's networks becomes disrupted during the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Beau Ances, assistant professor of neurology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, led a group of researchers into a study of brain scans of 559 subjects.

While some of the subjects were deemed cognitively normal, other patients were in the early stages of very mild to mild Alzheimer's disease.

Upon analysing the two groups, the scientists underlined that all of the networks were impaired where signs of Alzheimer's disease were present.

Mr Ances was keen to point out: "Communications within and between networks are disrupted, but it doesn't happen all at once.

"There's even one network that has a momentary surge of improved connections before it starts dropping again. That's the salience network, which helps you determine what in your environment you need to pay attention to."

According to the Alzheimer's Society, around 650,000 people in England suffer from dementia, with around 62 per cent of these cases being caused by Alzheimer's disease.

Posted by Jeanette Royston


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