A new study has shed further light on the role played by beta-amyloid protein in the development of Alzheimer's disease.
According to an article in the Archive of Neurology Journal, high plasma levels of this substance have been directly linked to quicker cognitive decline - even among those who do not develop a form of dementia.
Beta-amyloid accumulation has previously been established as the primary trigger for the development of Alzheimer's disease, but it now seems it is only part of a wider process in the development of the condition.
As older people without dementia saw cognitive decline due to this protein, there must be additional factors at play in those who do have dementia, the authors claim.
"It is thus important for future work to determine more definitively the specificity of beta-amyloid profiles for predicting dementia versus their significance for cognitive aging more generally," the article concludes.
There are more than 820,000 people in the UK living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Research Trust.