A news study found that massive concentrations of amyloid protein in the brain areas responsible for language processing could trigger a rare type of dementia dubbed primary progressive aphasia (AAP) that causes patients to lose their ability to speak.
Study authors based their findings on brain scans performed with state-of-the-art imaging techniques. They also compared those brain scans with amyloid buildup in patients with common forms of Alzheimer’s, which usually lead to memory loss.
In PPA patients, the brains had higher amyloid concentrations in the area responsible for speech, i.e. the left side of the brain, while in regular Alzheimer’s patients the concentrations were visible both in the right side and the left side of the brain.
The research was published in the Annals of Neurology.
Emily Rogalski, senior researcher involved in the study from the Northwestern’s Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer’s Disease Center, noted that the recent research could help clinicians understand the course of the disease by analyzing the protein buildups in their patients’ brains. This could prove extremely helpful for an early intervention and personalized treatment.
Rogalski explained that it makes no sense to give a PPA patient drugs designed to stave off Alzheimer’s and memory loss. This is why it is crucial to develop a method of identifying the onset of PPA before it is too late and the patient losses their ability to use language.
In the past, doctors could detect amyloid concentrations in their patients’ brains shortly after their death. But with the new imaging technique called Amyloid PET Imaging, the protein buildups can be tracked in live patients as well. Plus, docotrs can keep track of how those accumulations evolve over time.
Adam Martersteck, another researcher involved in the study, was thrilled with the new technology. He noted that Alzheimer’s research would get a big boost from the “exciting” tech.
Martersteck said that the new technology could help Alzheimer’s early detection. Plus, doctors can now know whether a patient is at risk of developing PPA and prevent language loss with proper medication.
According to official statistics, one in three U.S. seniors die from Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Plus, Alzheimer’s is on America’s top 10 causes of death list, but it is the only condition that cannot be cured, detected earlier, or slowed down.
Though, 90 percent of cancer patients are told about their diagnosis, only half as many learn they have Alzheimer’s.
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