Researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have found that they can detect subtle changes in the way the brain works in older adults who have the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Before someone shows any symptoms of Alzheimer’s, there are subtle changes happening in their brain. This is called preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.
Researchers from MUSC wanted to study these changes to better understand how Alzheimer’s disease starts and progresses.
The researchers used a new technique to look at brain activity called a functional connectome. They compared it to a city made up of different neighborhoods connected by highways.
The functional connectome measures how different parts of the brain communicate with each other, kind of like how traffic flows between neighborhoods.
Using a highly sensitive form of image analysis, they were able to see the unique patterns of brain function for each individual.
They found that adults with preclinical AD had slightly different patterns of brain function than those without the disease.
The researchers tested 149 participants without signs of cognitive decline and those with early signs of Alzheimer’s disease, and found that certain changes in the brain were associated with worse information processing in people with preclinical AD.
The study shows that this new technique can detect subtle variations in brain function that could be missed with other conventional brain imaging analysis techniques.
It also suggests that changes in the way the brain works can happen before someone shows any symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
In the future, researchers may be able to use this technique to develop therapies to improve the outcomes for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Overall, this study helps us better understand how Alzheimer’s disease starts and how it progresses.
Early signs of Alzheimer’s disease
The early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be very subtle and may not be immediately noticeable. In fact, in the preclinical stage of the disease, people may not show any signs or symptoms of cognitive decline.
As the disease progresses, however, people may start to experience memory problems, difficulty completing familiar tasks, confusion with time or place, trouble with vision or perception, problems with language, difficulty with problem-solving or planning, and changes in mood or personality.
It’s important to note that these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
Early diagnosis and treatment can help slow the progression of the disease and improve the quality of life.
Managing early Alzheimer’s disease (AD) can be challenging, but there are things that can be done to help slow the progression of the disease and improve quality of life.
Here are some tips for managing early Alzheimer’s:
Seek a medical diagnosis: If you suspect that you or someone you know may have Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to seek a medical diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
Stay physically active: Regular exercise can help improve cognitive function and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise can also help improve mood, increase energy, and reduce stress.
Eat a healthy diet: A healthy diet can help support brain function and improve overall health. A diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help provide the necessary nutrients for optimal brain health.
Stay mentally active: Keeping the brain active through activities such as reading, puzzles, and social engagement can help improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Stay socially engaged: Staying socially engaged can help improve mood, reduce stress, and improve cognitive function. Activities such as volunteering, joining a club, or participating in community events can help keep the mind active and engaged.
Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is important for overall health, including brain health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and try to establish a regular sleep routine.
If you care about Alzheimer’s, please read studies about diabetes drug that may also help prevent Alzheimer’s, and coconut oil could help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s.
For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about antioxidants that could help reduce dementia risk, and common nutrient in meat, fish and beans may be key to preventing Alzheimer’s.
The study was conducted by Stephanie Fountain-Zaragoza et al and published in Brain Connectivity.
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