Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Scientists Find Early Signs of Alzheimer's

A subtle change in a memory-making brain region seems to predict who will get Alzheimer's disease nine years before symptoms appear, say researchers who scanned the brains of middle-aged and older people while they were still healthy.

They discovered that lower energy usage in a part of the brain called the hippocampus correctly signaled who would get Alzheimer's or a related memory impairment 85 percent of the time.

"We found the earliest predictor," said the lead researcher, Lisa Mosconi of New York University School of Medicine. "The hippocampus seems to be the very first region to be affected."

The discovery may provide leads to scientists searching for therapies to at least delay the onset of the degenerative brain disease. [i.e. Big Bucks Loom for Pharma]

People who drink fruit or vegetable juice at least three times a week seem four times less likely to develop Alzheimer's than nonjuice drinkers, according to a study of 1,800 elderly Japanese-Americans. The theory is that juice contains high levels of polyphenols, compounds that may play a brain-protective role.

That Alzheimer's begins developing so early means even young people should adopt a brain-healthy lifestyle, said Dr. Mark Sager of the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer's Prevention. 'what we're hoping is that 55 is not too late,' he said.


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