Memory loss peaks at 4 stages before Alzheimer`s hits

Updated: Jul 18, 2013, 16:45 PM IST

Melbourne: Australian scientists have discovered four peak stages of memory loss 20 years before the onset of Alzheimer`s disease.

This data from the national Australian Imaging, Biomarker and Lifestyle Flagship study, has for the first time shown how long it takes for the development of Alzheimer`s disease.

Florey Institute and their national consortium`s researchers discovered that the plaque build-up in Alzheimer`s sufferers` brain could be seen up to 20 years before memory loss symptoms appear.

However, it took about 10 years for these beta-amyloid plaque proteins to attain abnormal levels in the brain.

The researchers found that there was also a gradual death of the hippocampus about five years before the onset of the disease, with distinct memory losses occurring in 17 years, four and three years before a full-blown dementia strikes.

The research involved analysing brain scans and cognitive function tests of 206 participants in the Australian Imaging, Biomarkers and Lifestyle Flagship Study of Ageing.