United States: A recent study reveals that many people are experiencing changes consistent with Alzheimer’s without any visible signs, indicating their brains may be more resistant to the condition. 

More on the Study 

Scientists from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience collected the samples of brain tissues from the Netherlands Brain Bank which is home to the brains of over 5,000 individuals who died of a brain disease. 

In a study conducted on the samples, the researchers discovered that only 12 of the brains were of healthy individuals before their demise and showed neurological signs of the disease’s pathology. 

Brains Defend Against Alzheimer's Without Symptoms, Study Finds. Credit | AP
Brains Defend Against Alzheimer’s Without Symptoms, Study Finds. Credit | AP

According to Luuk de Vries, a neuroscientist from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, “What is happening in these people at a molecular and cellular level wasn’t clear,” as sciencealert.com reported. 

Vries added, “We, therefore, searched for donors with brain tissue abnormalities who did not show a cognitive decline in the Brain Bank.” 

The findings of the research have been published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications. 

Previous Instances of Resilience 

This kind of resilience has been reported in other studies as well, suggesting that both genetic makeup and lifestyle practices may play a role in protecting against Alzheimer’s. 

By analyzing gene expressions in the brains of individuals who were cognitively normal but had Alzheimer’s pathology, the researchers found differences in astrocyte cells, which are involved in the disease

Brains Defend Against Alzheimer's Without Symptoms, Study Finds. Credit | Freepik
Brains Defend Against Alzheimer’s Without Symptoms, Study Finds. Credit | Freepik

The resilient brains also showed a better ability to remove toxic proteins associated with Alzheimer’s, preventing the buildup of neurological waste. 

De Vries added, “If we can find the molecular basis for resilience, then we have new starting points for the development of medication, which could activate processes related to resilience in Alzheimer’s patients,” as sciencealert.com reported. 

Global Impact of Alzheimer’s 

Alzheimer’s have an effect over 47 million people worldwide, with numbers expected to rise

Experts are unsure of the factors necessary for the disease to progress and how to prevent its escalation. 

The next step is to determine why some brains are more resilient and to understand the processes involved. 

De Vries stated, “It remains difficult to determine from human data which process initiates the disease process,” and, “You can only demonstrate this by changing something in cells or animal models and seeing what happens next. That is the first thing we have to do now.” 

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