Scientist find a hidden cause of dementia

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In a breakthrough study from Cedars-Sinai, scientists have made an exciting discovery about a condition known as behavioral-variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD).

This condition affects the brain, making it hard for people to control their actions and handle everyday tasks.

But the researchers found something hopeful: some of these patients might not have bvFTD at all. Instead, their symptoms could be due to a leak of a special fluid in their brain, which can be treated.

This special fluid is called cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It acts like a cushion for the brain and spinal cord, protecting them from harm. Sometimes, this fluid can leak out. When it does, it can cause the brain to sag. This sagging can lead to symptoms that look a lot like dementia.

The problem is, many doctors miss this leak because the symptoms are so similar to bvFTD. The study suggests that doctors should pay close attention to certain signs.

They should ask patients if they’ve ever had really bad headaches that get better when lying down, if they feel very sleepy even after sleeping all night, or if they’ve been told they have a Chiari brain malformation.

Finding the leak can be tricky. One common way to spot a CSF leak is with a special type of imaging called a CT myelogram. This test can show the fluid leaking if it’s going through a tear or cyst.

But the researchers found another kind of leak that’s harder to see. Sometimes, the fluid leaks into a vein. To find this kind of leak, doctors need to use a special CT scan that watches the fluid move.

In their study, the team looked at 21 people who had brain sagging and symptoms of bvFTD. They found that nine of these patients actually had leaks going into veins.

These patients had surgery to close the leaks, and amazingly, their symptoms were completely reversed.

The other 12 patients in the study didn’t have leaks that could be found. They tried different treatments to help with the brain sagging, but only three saw an improvement in their symptoms.

This research is a big deal because it shows that some people diagnosed with bvFTD might have a condition that can be fixed. If doctors take a closer look and use the right tests, these patients could get treatment that might completely change their lives.

The study, led by Wouter Schievink and his team, was published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research and Clinical Interventions. It opens a door to new possibilities for patients and their families, offering hope where there might have been none before.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about low choline intake linked to higher dementia risk, and how eating nuts can affect your cognitive ability.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing higher magnesium intake could help benefit brain health.

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