Rare Form Of Dementia Linked To Language Loss

Posted: Mar 14 2016, 7:19am CDT | by , in Latest Science News


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Rare Form of Dementia Linked to Language Loss
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  • People lose ability to express themselves and understand language

It has been found that an onset of dementia leads to language loss among the elderly.

Scientists looked into the brains of patients who had contracted a rare type of dementia. Termed primary progressive aphasia (PPA) this disease provided an important series of clues into the loss of the language function.

It is basically caused by an accumulation of a toxic protein in the tunnels of the brain. This toxic protein is similar to the one found in case of Alzheimer’s disease. The research points out why language loss occurs in case of this rare type of dementia.

A unique imaging technique was employed to peer into the brains of patients with this disease. The accumulation of amyloid protein was greater in the left side of the brain that is connected with language than on the right side.

Previously, the amyloid accumulation could only be studied after an Alzheimer’s patient’s demise. With the new technology known as Amyloid PET Imaging, researchers could study this phenomenon while the patient was alive. The original buildup of these proteins could lend vital clues as to the sort of treatment that was most suitable for this malady.

The role of Alzheimer’s in PPA must be charted. That is because it must be confirmed beforehand whether Alzheimer’s is present or not. Otherwise there may be no need for giving the patient a pill that is meant for Alzheimer’s.

It would be simply inefficient and unnecessary. Future medicine for the disease will be built in the form of a pharmacopoiea that will require the input of present day research.

The researchers are pretty excited since they believe they are onto something here. By a better understanding of the brain and its inner mechanisms, this ailment could be stopped dead in its tracks sometime in the future.

This happens to be the first study that has observed the buildup of beta amyloid proteins in the brain.

"This new technology is very exciting for Alzheimer's research," said Adam Martersteck, the first author and a graduate student in Northwestern's neuroscience program.

"Not only can we tell if a person is likely or unlikely to have Alzheimer's disease causing their PPA, but we can see where it is in the brain. By understanding what the brain looks like in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, we hope to be able to diagnose people earlier and with better accuracy."

Alzheimer’s disease causes memory problems. This thing termed PPA causes language loss though. 32 patients with PPA were analysed. 19 of them had a toxic buildup of amyloid protein and also showed Alzheimer’s symptoms.

These people were compared to 22 patients with Alzheimer’s memory dementia. Those who had lost their memories had equal amounts of amyloid protein buildup in both hemispheres of the brain. This was of extreme significance for the researchers since it differentiated the two diseases from each other.

The study was published recently in the Annals of Neurology.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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