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Silent strokes and dead brain cells cause memory loss

Silent strokes and dead brain cells cause memory loss
29th December 2011

New insights have been uncovered as to why some older people lose their memory.

Researchers at Columbia University have found that silent strokes and small spots of dead brain cells are present in approximately 25 per cent of older adults who experience
memory loss.

"The new aspect of this study of memory loss in the elderly is that it examines silent strokes and hippocampal shrinkage simultaneously," said explained author Dr Adam M. Brickman.

During the study, a group of 658 people aged 65 and older, who were free of dementia were given MRI brain scans and underwent test.

Some 174 of those participants had experienced a silent stroke and scored worse on memory tests.

This was true whether or not people had a small hippocampus, which is the memory centre of the brain.

Dr Brickman explained that these finding may help researchers unearth what causes memory loss among Alzheimer’s patients.

For many, it will not come as a surprise that Alzheimer’s may be linked to silent stroke, as the E-4 variant of the apolipoprotein (apo) gene is thought to be one of the primary contributors to both conditions, according to researchers at the University of Kansas.

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