Larger Brains, Better Memory?
April 17, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the presence of plaques and tangles in the brain, but autopsies have shown sometimes even people with perfect memories present such abnormalities. Now, a new study reveals their sharp minds may be due to a larger hippocampus -- the region in the brain associated with memory.
Researchers examined the brains of 12 people who died with sharp memories and good thinking skills, but in autopsies showed a high amount of plaques in their brains. They compared them to 23 diagnosed Alzheimer’s patients who, after death, were found to have the same amount of plaques in their brains. Results showed the hippocampus was 20 percent larger in the first group compared to the Alzheimer’s group with dementia. Regardless of gender, age and total brain volume, the results remained the same.
“This larger hippocampus may protect these people from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes,” Deniz Erten-Lyons, M.D., study author and an assistant professor of neurology at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, was quoted as saying. “Hopefully this will lead us eventually to prevention strategies.”
SOURCE: Presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 60th Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12 – April 19, 2008
Sign up for a free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs called First to Know by clicking here.
Back to News