Could Loneliness be an Early Sign of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 9, 2016

Loneliness may be an early sign of brain changes that lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.

In people with Alzheimer’s, the disease process—involving abnormal protein accumulation in the brain—begins 10 or 20 years before the onset of cognitive impairment.

In November, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) published a study that examined whether certain emotional or behavioral changes were associated with the accumulation of abnormal proteins, such as amyloid—a protein believed to be a precursor of Alzheimer’s.

“We thought loneliness could be an early signal of amyloid accumulation, because in epidemiologic studies lonely people have accelerated cognitive decline,” said study leader Dr. Nancy Donovan, a psychiatrist in the Department of Psychiatry and Neurology at BWH.   Read More »

Groundbreaking Alzheimer’s Trial Featured on CBS News

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital March 26, 2015

Reisa A. Sperling, MD

Helene lost her mother to Alzheimer’s. Now, her sister is battling the disease. While Helene is not showing symptoms, scans of her brain show the buildup of amyloid plaques that are believed to lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.

CBS News interviewed Helene, who is participating in a groundbreaking international clinical trial that is the first to examine early treatment of older adults at risk for Alzheimer’s disease – with the hope of preventing memory loss before it begins. Led by Dr. Reisa Sperling, Director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease (A4) Study is for people without symptoms, but whose brain scans show the buildup of amyloid plaques. The A4 study is currently enrolling 1,000 participants at 60 sites in the United States, Canada, and Australia. To learn more about the A4 study and other studies for Alzheimer’s disease, please contact the BWH Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment.

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