On brain scans, visible: Alzheimer’s shows itself before the age of 40. Age

Cerebral atrophy made visible: researchers have studied how the brain changes in the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Your on the MRI-based model simulations reveal: The brain atrophy already evident before the age of 40. Age – and begins probably in the Hippocampus. These results for new early detection of the extent to which methods use, however, is still unclear.

Alzheimer’s is one of the most common neuro-degenerative diseases. However, despite intensive research efforts, there is still no cure for this Form of dementia. New drugs may the progressive brakes at the end of the destruction of brain cells. But Alzheimer’s is detected only when the patients show marked mental failure.

The Problem: you experience the first symptoms, is advanced brain shrinkage. To be able to the disease in the future, early detection, researchers are therefore looking for early signs of the disease in the brain. But, as structural changes in the Brain, which are typical for Alzheimer’s, one of which, occurring in the course of normal aging processes differ?

Healthy and sick in comparison

This question is dedicated to now pierrick Coupé, of the University of Bordeaux in Talence. For their study, the scientists evaluated first brain scans of 2.944 healthy volunteers in the age from nine months to 94 years. On the Basis of this data, they created a model of the natural brain changes in the course of life.

Then they looked at magnetic resonance tomography images (MRI) of 1.385 Alzheimer’s patients 55 years or older. Because complaints usually does not occur prior to this age, are relevant to the brain scans of Affected from a previous Phase of life is hardly available. For this reason, a combined coupe and his colleagues, these images with recordings of healthy young people, to develop a model of the changes of the diseased brain.

Progressive Course

The researchers assumed that the process of Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease is progressing slowly and steadily. Such a progressive course is evidence according to them – for example, the fact that the typical for the disease are deposits of Beta-Amyloid proteins accumulate slowly.

On the Basis of their model simulated a coupe and his Team in the end, what happens in the different stages of dementia in the brain. These results are then compared with the modelled changes of the healthy mind body.

It begins in the Hippocampus

The result: The simulations suggest that the first significant deviations occur already before the age of 40. Since the age of. Therefore, the brain shows atrophy, probably first in the Hippocampus. This result is true according to the science Convention learning with knowledge from long-term studies have followed people with a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s.

40. Year begins, the volume of the Amygdala in the patient’s brain significantly from the healthy to depart, as the Team reported: This part of the Brain shrinks as well as the Hippocampus. In addition, the model simulations suggest an early enlargement of the lateral ventricles – cavities in the brain filled with cerebrospinal fluid and also in healthy individuals with increasing age, partly.

A meaningful model?

With your work coupe and his colleagues provide a look into the Alzheimer’s-affected brain – from the early, asymptomatic stage to the final stage of the disease. Their results suggest that characteristic changes of Alzheimer’s may already be in the middle of life can be observed.

Whether these findings can be required in the future for the development of new early detection methods, however, is unclear. Finally, the study is based on a model that can represent the reality of, at best, approximate and uncertain. “On certain changes, contrary to our assumption, for example, suddenly instead of gradually, our model is unfit,” the researchers write. “We currently see no better way for the Simulation of the Alzheimer’s progression.” (Scientific Reports, 2019; doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39809-8)

Source: CNRS

This article was written by Daniela Albat

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