Study: brain plaque could be more dangerous than Alzheimer's gene

By WEEK Producer
By NBC News

Study: brain plaque could be more dangerous than Alzheimer's gene

October 15, 2012 Updated Oct 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM CDT

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Plaque build-up in the brains of elderly people may be more harmful than having the Alzheimer's gene.

Researchers in Australia had 141 healthy elderly adults undergo brain scans. They were also tested for a gene called APOE, which can raise the risk for Alzheimer's Disease.

The study participants memory and thinking skills were tracked over the next 18 months.

People who had more brain plaques on the scans had 20 percent greater cognitive declines.

Those who had the gene also had declines, but that didn't change the decline in memory related to the plaques.

This study is from the University of Melbourne, and is published in Neurology, medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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