Alzheimer’s-related brain changes could start at 40

(Honor Whiteman/ Medical News Today) —  Scientists may have advanced our understanding of the brain mechanisms behind Alzheimer’s disease, after uncovering a process that precedes the buildup of toxic proteins that is a hallmark of the condition.

In a mouse study, scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles reveal how damage to cells called pericytes can trigger white matter disease, which is associated with dementia.

Also, the study findings suggest that these brain changes may occur as early as the age of 40.

White matter disease is characterized by the degeneration of white matter. This is the brain tissue that contains nerve fibers, the thread-like structures that carry signals from the nerve cells, or neurons, to other areas of the body.

In white matter disease, these nerve fibers become damaged, and this causes problems with memory, thinking, and balance. (…)

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