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.

Related Articles


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 November 23, 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 November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

You Don't Have To Be Alcohol Dependent To Need Treatment

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found 9 out of 10 excessive drinkers in the country are not alcohol dependent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Your Complicated Job Might Keep Your Brain Young

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found the more complex your job is, the sharper your cognitive skills will likely be as you age. Video provided by Newsy
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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