Latest News » Researchers identify key time to tackle memory loss in elderly

Treating amyloid plaque before it plateaus may be crucial for brain health.

Alzheimer's disease is already a major health concern among the elderly population, and as the global population ages, it is set to pose substantial challenges for caregivers, healthcare providers and government agencies alike. As such, medical researchers are devoting substantial resources to this degenerative condition.

As well as investigating potential treatment methods for Alzheimer's disease, scientists are also focusing on how to prevent its onset and preserve long-term brain health with age. Thus far, research has indicated that certain natural compounds, including vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acid and curcumin, may act as memory enhancers that could play a role in Alzheimer's prevention.

Recently, scientists from The Mayo Clinic have also discovered that there may be an optimum time to apply brain enhancing methods. According to a press release from the American Academy of Neurology, scientists have revealed that memory-boosting treatment may be most effective in a period before a plaque associated with Alzheimer's disease has ceased to develop in the brain.

"Our study suggests that plaques in the brain that are linked to a decline in memory and thinking abilities, called beta amyloid, take about 15 years to build up and then plateau," said researcher Dr. Clifford Jack, Jr.

Upon conducting regular brain scans on a group of 260 elderly individuals, the researchers discovered that, initially, amyloid plaque develops at a relatively fast pace, but eventually that buildup slows down dramatically. Treating the condition before that shift may produce the best results in terms of memory retention, the scientists noted.

By better understanding how Alzheimer's disease develops over time, medical practitioners have a greater chance of managing and, in time, preventing the condition.

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