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Neurological Disorders Channel
Reported February 28, 2013

Just In Time to Save Memory

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Alzheimer’s and other diseases take away the memories people hold dear, turning loved ones into strangers and wiping out the memories of some milestones altogether. However, according to a new Mayo Clinic Study there may be hope to save these people’s memories before disease destroys them.

"Our results suggest that there is a long treatment window where medications may be able to help slow buildup of the amyloid plaques that are linked to cognitive decline," study author Clifford Jack, Jr., MD, a Radiologist and the Alexander Family Professor of Alzheimer's Disease Research at Mayo Clinic was quoted as saying.

Researchers discovered this treatment window after analyzing 260 people between the ages of 70 and 92. Over an average of 1.3 years participants were given two or more brain scans to measure the plaque buildup in the brain.

Using the brain scans, researchers were able to see a trend in the rate of plaque buildup in the brain. At first the rate of plaque buildup speeds up, then slows, and eventually peaks at high levels. So, study participants with mid-range levels of plaque buildup at the start of the study actually had the highest accumulation of plaque in the brain.
 
It was also found that the rate of plaque buildup is more closely related to the number of amyloid plaques in the brain than other factors commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss, including age and the presence of the APOE gene.

This grace period of a few years could offer more treatment opportunities and save memories before they are lost. However, once the damage is done it cannot be reversed.

“Trying to treat the plaque buildup after the amyloid plaque load has plateaued may not do much good,” Dr. Jack was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Neurology, February 2013

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