Pathological aging (PA) is used to describe the brains of peoplewhich have Alzheimer's disease (AD)-like pathology but where the person showed no signs ofcognitive impairment whilst they were alive. New research,published in BioMed Central's open access journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, shows that PA and AD brains contain similar amyloid (A )plaques and that while on average AD brains contain more A therewas considerable overlap in A subtypes. These results suggestthat PA may simply be an early stage of AD. AD is the most common cause of dementia . It can result in loss of memory, mood changes, and cause problemswith communication and reasoning. |
The disease is characterized bylarge numbers of Ab; plaques, tangles and neuroinflammation changeswithin the brain. People with PA also have Ab; plaques, but lessneuroinflammation and other AD specific brain changes, so it hasbeen previously suggested that the Ab; plaques in PA are differentand somehow less toxic than those in AD. Researchers from University of Florida and Mayo Clinic, supportedby the National Institute of Health, compared post-mortem braintissue from people with AD, PA, and controls. When they looked atthe type and amount of Ab; they found that while both AD and PA hadelevated levels of Ab; on average levels were slightly lower in PA. Comparing subtypes of Ab demonstrated that there was a great dealof similarity and overlap between AD and PA and biochemicalanalysis showed both AD and PA have dramatically, but equivalent,higher levels of insoluble Ab, compared to controls.
Furtherstudies showed that that there were really no major differencesbetween the accumulated Ab in both AD and PA. Dr Todd Golde, who coordinated the research, commented, "We found ahigh degree of overlap in Ab levels, profiles, and solubility,between the brains of people with PA and AD. While there might besome subtle differences in Ab, it seems that PA may represent anearly stage of AD rather than a benign form of Ab deposition, andthat if they live long enough people with PA will go on to developAD. We hope that understanding the differences between PA and ADwill provide new ways to help protect the brain and promote thedevelopment of AD therapeutics." Additional References Citations.
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