Dementia – research highlights a brain weakness
The brain has a weak spot for Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, according to UK scientists who have pinpointed the region using scans.
The brain area involved develops late in adolescence and degenerates early during ageing. At the moment, it is difficult for doctors to predict which people might develop either condition.
The findings, in the journal PNAS, hint at a potential way to diagnose those at risk earlier, experts say. Although they caution that “much more research is needed into how to bring these exciting discoveries into the clinic”.
The Medical Research Council team who carried out the study did MRI brain scans on 484 healthy volunteers aged between eight and 85 years.
The researchers, led by Dr Gwenaëlle Douaud of Oxford University, looked at how the brain naturally changes as people age.
The images revealed a common pattern – the parts of the brain that were the last to develop were also the first to show signs of age-related decline.
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