Changes to the Brain

How does Alzheimer’s disease affect the brain?

Large scale studies are providing valuable information about brain changes in the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease that will help diagnose people earlier.

Normal Brain versus Alzheimer's Brain

  • Structural changes occur in the brain many years before a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is possible – a recent study revealed detectable changes on an MRI brain scan up to 10 years earlier26.
  • The rate of decline in memory can also provide early warning – one study of people with mild cognitive impairment found clinically-measurable symptoms, including long-term memory loss, about 12 years before the person met diagnostic criteria for dementia20.

The hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease is the development in the brain of:

Scientists hope that future drugs targeting amyloid and tau may offer the potential to slow or stop disease progression.

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