ANCHOR LEAD: IS AMYLOID AN IMPORTANT CAUSE OF DEMENTIA OR JUST A BYSTANDER? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
For years Alzheimer’s disease has been thought to be the result of an accumulation of amyloid, a protein-based material that gums up the brain But mounting evidence now suggests c that while amyloid is one factor, there’s more to the story. One recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, suggests that for older people especially, amyloid alone is not enough to cause Alzheimer’s disease. Constantine Lyketsos, an Alzheimer’s expert at Johns Hopkins, interprets the findings.
LYKETSOS: As people get older maybe the deposition of amyloid is more of an aspect of aging and doesn’t automatically mean that dementia will happen. Probably suggests that amyloid deposition itself is more of a feature of aging, but the translation of that to the symptoms of dementia is really what we should be considering the disease here. :21
Lyketsos says ongoing research is attempting to discern the steps involved in amyloid deposition as well as other brain changes accompanying Alzheimer’s. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.