Shrinking in hippocampus area of brain precedes Alzheimer's disease

Mar 16, 2009

People who have lost brain cells in the hippocampus area of the brain are more likely to develop dementia, according to a study published in the March 17, 2009, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 64 with Alzheimer's , 44 people with , which is the stage of memory problems that precedes Alzheimer's disease, and 34 people with no memory or thinking problems.

scans were performed on all of the participants at the beginning of the study and again an average of a year and a half later. During that time, 23 of the people with mild cognitive impairment had developed Alzheimer's disease, along with three of the healthy participants.

The researchers measured the volume of the whole and the area, which is affected by Alzheimer's disease, at the beginning and end of the study, and calculated the rate of shrinkage in the brain over that time.

For the people who did not have at the beginning of the study, those with smaller hippocampal volumes and higher rates of shrinkage were two to four times as likely to develop dementia as those with larger volumes and a slower rate of atrophy.

"This finding seems to reflect that at the stage of mild cognitive impairment, considerable atrophy has already occurred in the hippocampus," said study author Wouter Henneman, MD, of VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. "In people who already have Alzheimer's disease, the loss of nerve cells is more widespread throughout the brain."

Source: American Academy of Neurology (news : web)

Explore further: Neuroscientists disprove idea about brain-eye coordination

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Education protects against pre-Alzheimer's memory loss

Oct 20, 2008

ST. PAUL, Minn. – People with more education and more mentally demanding occupations may have protection against the memory loss that precedes Alzheimer's disease, according to a study published in the October 21, 2008, ...

Occasional memory loss tied to lower brain volume

Oct 06, 2008

People who occasionally forget an appointment or a friend's name may have a loss of brain volume, even though they don't have memory deficits on regular tests of memory or dementia, according to a study published in the October ...

Depression increases risk of Alzheimer's disease

Apr 07, 2008

People who have had depression are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people who have never had depression, according to a study published in the April 8, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the ...

Recommended for you

Researchers track down cause of eye mobility disorder

15 hours ago

Imagine you cannot move your eyes up, and you cannot lift your upper eyelid. You walk through life with your head tilted upward so that your eyes look straight when they are rolled down in the eye socket. ...

How kids' brain structures grow as memory develops

16 hours ago

Our ability to store memories improves during childhood, associated with structural changes in the hippocampus and its connections with prefrontal and parietal cortices. New research from UC Davis is exploring ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Firm targets 3D printing synthetic tissues, organs

(Medical Xpress)—A University of Oxford spin-out, OxSyBio, will develop 3D printing techniques to produce tissue-like synthetic materials for wound healing and drug delivery. In the longer term the company ...

Survival hope for melanoma patients thanks to new vaccine

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide researchers have discovered that a new trial vaccine offers the most promising treatment to date for melanoma that has spread, with increased patient survival rates and improved ability ...

Naps help infants learn

Sleep is essential in helping young children apply what they learn, according to new research by Rebecca Gómez, associate professor in the UA Department of Psychology. In this Q&A, she talks about her new ...

Robotics goes micro-scale

(Phys.org) —The development of light-driven 'micro-robots' that can autonomously investigate and manipulate the nano-scale environment in a microscope comes a step closer, thanks to new research from the ...

Biologists help solve fungi mysteries

(Phys.org) —A new genetic analysis revealing the previously unknown biodiversity and distribution of thousands of fungi in North America might also reveal a previously underappreciated contributor to climate ...