Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of brain disease. It is most known for causing memory loss, but unfortunately, there is no known cure for the disease. However, there are treatments that can limit and prevent symptoms of the disease. These preventative treatments are most effective before a patient has been diagnosed with the disease. As a result, being able to identify early signs of Alzheimer’s disease is crucial in order to limit the damage caused by its symptoms.
Image source: Andrew Bret Wallis
Researchers have discovered that changes in brain connections may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease. A method already being used to detect early signs of the disease focuses on the unusually high presence of a protein, beta-amyloid, in the brains of patients. The researchers found that the breakdown of brain connections was directly related to high amounts of beta-amyloid. As a result, the researchers believe that these changes in brain connections, identified by MRI readings, could serve to represent early signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
Although this proposed method of early detection of the disease still needs to be perfected, it is good progress towards ultimately finding a cure. The disease currently affects about five million Americans; a lot of research is being done towards fighting the disease but at this moment, the best way to preventing Alzheimer’s disease would be to establish better methods for identifying early signs of it.
Feature Image Source: grandpa-eyes by Jeremy Hiebert