Amyloid plaques: they’re at the heart of scientists’ hypotheses about what causes Alzheimer’s, and they are focusing on removing them as an effective treatment option and hopefully, one day, a cure. The FDA’s recent approval of the newest medication, Aducanumab, is one case in point.
Yet a new Alzheimer’s research study led by the University of Cincinnati in conjunction with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden is turning this thinking upside down. Alberto Espay, the study’s senior author and professor of neurology at UC, explains, “It’s not the plaques that are causing impaired cognition. Amyloid plaques are a consequence, not a cause.”
Espay and the UC team believe the focus should instead be on the decline in soluble amyloid-beta peptide, and not the resulting accumulation of plaques. These findings are based on the brain scans and spinal fluid tests on 600 participants, all of whom have amyloid plaques. In comparing the amount of plaques and peptide, those with higher levels of peptide were the ones with expected levels of cognitive functioning – regardless of plaque levels.
In fact, more than half of all adults age 85 and older have developed amyloid plaques – yet only one in ten of them develop dementia.
Further Alzheimer’s research is progressing, including tests on animal models. Based on the results of these tests, treatment options geared towards increasing the soluble version of the protein and preventing it from hardening into plaques may be the next step in solving the Alzheimer’s puzzle.
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We also help seniors with dementia build upon their strengths, adapt to their changes in behavior, and discover purpose and meaning in each day, while helping to improve memory and cognitive functioning. Family caregivers also benefit from safe, reliable respite care services, allowing them to take regular breaks from care to tend to their own needs. This is vitally important for the health and wellbeing of both family members and the seniors with dementia in their care.
Contact Atlanta Home Care Partners online or call us at (404) 228-0103 to request some additional dementia care resources, learn more about our options for home care in Decatur and the surrounding areas, and to schedule your free in-home assessment.