It could point the way for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain scans of healthy people showed signs that the brain was shrinking in Alzheimer’s-affected areas nearly a decade before the disease was diagnosed.
The findings in the journal Neurology, may offer a new way to both detect the disease and help in the development of effective treatments.
Researchers hope there will be a drug for those who are still without symptoms but at great risk.
The study involved two groups of healthy people in their 70s who were followed for nine years.
During the study, 50 participants remained cognitively normal and 15 developed Alzheimer’s disease.
People who had the highest amount of shrinkage in specific areas of the cerebral cortex were three times more likely to develop the disease.
So far these preliminary results can’t be used outside the lab, but researchers are optimistic.