Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neuroimaging study describes Alzheimer's disease-like changes in elderly people without the disease

Date:
March 16, 2010
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
Researchers have related the findings that are emerging from PET-PIB imaging to changes in the function of brain circuits.

The emergence of multiple new brain imaging technologies and the combined application of these new approaches is helping to create new insights into aging and Alzheimer's disease. One of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease is the deposition of amyloid beta protein in clumps or "plaques" within the brain. These plaques can be measured in humans with PET scans that use a chemical marker or radiotracer called 11C-PIB.

It was long thought that the formation of plaques injured and perhaps even caused the death of nerve cells in the brain. Recent studies, however, suggest that a form of the amyloid beta protein that is soluble rather than the form that is deposited in plaques mediates most of the destructive impact of this protein.

In a new study published in Biological Psychiatry, by Elsevier, researchers have related the findings that are emerging from PET-PIB imaging to changes in the function of brain circuits. Sheline and colleagues examined Alzheimer's disease patients and cognitively normal, healthy individuals who were then divided into those with or without brain amyloid plaques.

Using functional connectivity brain mapping, they found that amyloid plaques are present in the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease as well as some healthy elderly people who do not show behavioral evidence of Alzheimer's disease. However, they found that the healthy participants with brain amyloid deposits were associated with compromise of the connections between important brain regions involved in learning and memory even though their memory functions were not markedly impaired. Similar disruptions in brain connections were found in individuals with Alzheimer's disease.

"This elegant study illustrates that amyloid plaques are only a component of the disease process in Alzheimer's disease, in that that there are many people who have the plaques but not the disease. These data raise a number of important questions," comments Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "What is missing from the disease process or what protective factors are present among people who have amyloid deposition in plaques but who appear to be without Alzheimer's disease? If the amyloid plaques were eliminated in the healthy elderly, would their brain circuitry function normalize?"

These questions are important and timely as a number of approaches for reducing brain amyloid beta protein levels are currently being tested, including antibodies that might bind to and promote the clearance of amyloid beta protein as well as drugs that inhibit amyloid beta protein synthesis. If amyloid beta protein is only part of the biology of Alzheimer's disease, it may be difficult to predict the extent to which these novel treatments might work.

According to Dr. Yvette Sheline, Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology at Washington University and lead author on the study, "the important thing about this study is that none of the participants had cognitive or behavioral abnormalities. This indicates that Alzheimer's disease likely begins quietly, clinically undetected, but still slowly eroding brain networks." Thus, these findings further underscore the importance of being able to identify individuals at risk for developing Alzheimer's disease, and will aid researchers as they continue to work to understand the disruption in brain functioning associated with Alzheimer's disease.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sheline et al. Amyloid Plaques Disrupt Resting State Default Mode Network Connectivity in Cognitively Normal Elderly. Biological Psychiatry, 2010; 67 (6): 584 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.08.024

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Neuroimaging study describes Alzheimer's disease-like changes in elderly people without the disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315103936.htm>.
Elsevier. (2010, March 16). Neuroimaging study describes Alzheimer's disease-like changes in elderly people without the disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315103936.htm
Elsevier. "Neuroimaging study describes Alzheimer's disease-like changes in elderly people without the disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315103936.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

Academic Scandal Shocks UNC

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) A scandal involving bogus classes and inflated grades at the University of North Carolina was bigger than previously reported, a new investigation found. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother Getaway: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Feast your eyes on this gorgeous family-friendly resort. Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Your Favorite Color Says About You

What Your Favorite Color Says About You

Buzz60 (Oct. 22, 2014) We all have one color we love to wear, and believe it or not, your color preference may reveal some of your character traits. In celebration of National Color Day, Krystin Goodwin (@kyrstingoodwin) highlights what your favorite colors may say about you. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. 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