US researchers have discovered indicators of Alzheimer's disease are present in newborn babies.
Scientists from the University of North Carolina analysed brain scans taken of babies when they were just two weeks old and have found signs of degeneration, the News & Observer reports.
The findings have been hailed as a "game changer" in neurological research by Dr Jay Giedd, a specialist at the National Institute of Mental Health.
"Our original model was that the brain was fine until someone got the illness. This work shows that these changes are there probably from conception," he stated.
The team examined 272 scans taken of newborns and discovered around 15 per cent had a smaller temporal lobe section.
This area of the brain is key to memory and the researchers discovered genes associated with Alzheimer's in the babies with smaller temporal lobes.
Professor Rebecca Knickmeyer, who led the study, said the babies will now be followed through adulthood so changes to their brain can be monitored.
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