Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Unravelling The Pathology Of Dementia

Date:
November 12, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Combination therapies to tackle multiple changes in the brain may be needed to combat the growing problem of dementia in aging societies, according to a new study.

Combination therapies to tackle multiple changes in the brain may be needed to combat the growing problem of dementia in ageing societies, according to a study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine.

The study shows that multiple abnormal processes in the brain are often involved in cases of dementia, and that the drugs currently in development to treat individual brain pathologies may have a limited impact on the overall burden of dementia in the population.

Dementia -- which can involve problems with memory, language and judgement -- is a growing social and clinical problem affecting a quarter of people 85 years or older and an estimated 35 million people worldwide. Paul Ince, of the University of Sheffield, and colleagues at the University of Cambridge, conducted the study to estimate the relative contribution of known causes of dementia in the brain to dementia at death. Their research drew upon data from the Medical Research Council's Cognitive Function and Ageing Study -- a major investigation into dementia in England and Wales that began in 1990.

In this study, the researchers used statistical methods to establish the proportion of dementia directly attributed to each specific change in the brain and other factors. A total of 456 participants in the study donated their brains for post-mortem examination which enabled estimation of the contribution of each type of pathology to dementia in the population as a whole. The main pathological contributors to dementia were clumps of proteins called plaques and neurofibrillary tangles (19%) -- which are regarded as the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease -and blood vessel disease (21%). Other factors contributing to the risk of dementia across the population included age, markers of reduced brain size and atrophy of a structure called the hippocampus which is involved in learning and memory.

The researchers conclude that dementia is often associated with mixed pathological changes -- in other words, at death many people had changes in the brain consistent with Alzheimer's and those linked to vascular dementia. The findings may be difficult to extrapolate to the living population because most changes in the brain can only be established by post-mortem, whilst the abnormal changes in the brains of people living with dementia may alter over time. Nevertheless, the findings suggest that drugs focusing on specific pathologies -- whilst having a profound effect in some the smaller proportion of cases in which a single disease process predominates -- may do little to reduce the overall burden of dementia in societies with ageing populations. An effective strategy for the population will need a range of protective strategies linked to biomarkers for each major risk factor.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matthews FE, Brayne C, Lowe J, McKeith I, Wharton SB, Ince P. Epidemiological Pathology of Dementia: Attributable-Risks at Death in the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study. PLoS Medicine, 2009; 6 (11): e1000180 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000180

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Unravelling The Pathology Of Dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110065911.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, November 12). Unravelling The Pathology Of Dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110065911.htm
Public Library of Science. "Unravelling The Pathology Of Dementia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110065911.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins