Atrophy in AD-Related Areas Tied to Disease Development

Controllable vascular risk factors also appear related to higher risk of developing Alzheimer's

THURSDAY, April 14 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers have found a correlation between atrophy in Alzheimer's disease (AD)-related brain areas and subsequent AD, which also appears to be influenced by vascular risk factors (VRF), according to two articles published online April 13 in Neurology.

Bradford C. Dickerson, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues followed two groups of cognitively normal adults with low, average, and high measurements of AD-involved brain areas. There was correlation between measurements and subsequent AD development -- those with low measurements were much more likely to develop AD. The team concluded that atrophy is identifiable nearly a decade before onset of dementia in asymptomatic individuals.

J. Li, M.D., Ph.D., of the Third Military Medical University in Chongqing, China, and colleagues followed 837 individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) for five years to investigate the impact of VRF on cognitive decline. At five years, 298 subjects developed AD, and the others remained mildly cognitively impaired. Presence of VRF was associated with an increased risk of dementia development. Those in whom all VRF were treated had a lower risk of developing AD than those who had some VRF treated. Treatment of individual VRF (diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia) was linked to a lower risk of conversion to AD.

"VRF increased the risk of incident AD dementia. Treatment of VRF was associated with a reduced risk of incident AD dementia. Although our findings are observational, they suggest active intervention for VRF might reduce progression in MCI to AD dementia," Li and colleagues conclude.

Abstract - Dickerson
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Abstract - Li
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