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 »