Brain Workaround for Alzheimer's Markers Discovered

the MPR take:

Scientists from the University of California, Berkeley believe that they may have uncovered an explanation as to why some individuals with beta-amyloid buildup retain normal cognitive function, while others develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In the study, 22 healthy young adults and 49 older adults with no signs of cognitive decline underwent brain scans to detect beta-amyloid deposits; 16 of the older subjects showed these deposits while the remaining 55 participants did not. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was then used to track the brain activity of the study subjects as they attempted to memorize pictures of a range of scenes. The participants then were tested on the pictures via assessments of written descriptions of and confirmation of specific written details from the scenes. While the groups performed equally in the tasks, the patients with beta-amyloid deposits and a more detailed and complex memory had a greater amount of brain activity, suggesting that the brain is compensating for these biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease. It is still unclear as to why some individuals with beta-amyloid deposits are better skilled at using different parts of their brain compared to others. The authors suggest that a lifetime of cognitively stimulating activity may help individuals better adapt to these biomarkers and potential cognitive decline.

Researchers find neural compensation in people with Alzheimer's-related protein
Brain Workaround for Alzheimer's Markers Discovered

UC Berkeley researchers have found that the human brain is capable of a neural workaround that compensates for the buildup of beta-amyloid, a destructive protein associated with Alzheimer's disease. The findings could help explain how some older adults with beta-amyloid deposits in their brain retain normal cognitive function while others develop dementia.