Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Plaques & Tangles

For years it has been surmised that plaques and tangles in the brain likely underpin Alzheimer’s disease. The findings support growing evidence that plaques and tangles might not be a direct cause of Alzheimer’s, According to University of Texas at Austin’s Cheasequah Blevins, there is growing evidence that plaques and tangles may not be a direct cause of Alzheimer’s. In other words, there may be correlation but not necessarily causation. Some very elderly and still very sharp individuals also have plaques and tangles in their brains. Emily Rogalski and her colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago are studying a subset of elderly people known as ‘superagers,’ some of whom seem to retain a good memory as they age. To qualify as a superager, the individual must be over the age of 80 but perform as well as 55-year-olds in memory tests. For example, when asked to recall a list of 15 words 15 minutes after hearing them, the average 80-year-old remembers about five. Superagers remember around nine. Based on brain scans, their brain tissue appears to shrink less than average. More tomorrow.

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