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Brain and Mental Performance

Tangles Provide Clue to Memory Loss

15 years, 6 months ago

924  0
Posted on Jun 03, 2003, 5 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Results of a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University suggest that memory loss may be caused by twisted fragments of protein that accumulate in brain cells called neurofibrillary tangles. Dr Angela Guillozet and colleagues examined the brains of eight dead people, three of which had suffered from mild cognitive impairment - a more severe form of memory loss than that linked to aging but less severe than Alzheimer's disease.

Results of a recent study by researchers at Northwestern University suggest that memory loss may be caused by twisted fragments of protein that accumulate in brain cells called neurofibrillary tangles. Dr Angela Guillozet and colleagues examined the brains of eight dead people, three of which had suffered from mild cognitive impairment - a more severe form of memory loss than that linked to aging but less severe than Alzheimer's disease. Results showed that the brains of all eight subjects contained tangles, however the brains of those with mild cognitive impairment had significantly more tangles. In fact, the researchers found a direct link between the density of tangles present in the brain and scores from memory tests carried out on the eight people before they died. Neurofibrillary tangles are already linked to Alzheimer's disease, and these findings suggest that they also play a role in the pathology of mild cognitive impairment. The authors suspect that they may also be at least a contributing factor to age-related memory loss.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Arch Neurol. 2003;60:729-736.

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