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Researchers reveal new details on aged brain, Alzheimer's and dementia

01:10, Thursday, 23 November, 2017
Researchers reveal new details on aged brain, Alzheimer's and dementia

In a comprehensive analysis of samples from 107 aged human brains, researchers at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, UW Medicine and Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute have discovered details that will help researchers better understand the biological bases for Alzheimer's disease and dementia in older populations. The analysis also highlights surprising variability in the aged brain, including examples of donors with resilience to pathology. The research is published this month in the journal eLife, and the data underlying the research are publicly available as part of the suite of open data resources at the Allen Brain Atlas portal.
     "Since the population of individuals over 90 years of age is rapidly increasing, understanding both healthy aging and age-related disease is essential," says Ed Lein, Investigator at the Allen Institute for Brain Science. "This means we must discover how cognitive decline correlates with the brain pathologies we typically attribute to diseases like Alzheimer's in aged brains, as well as the biology underlying individual vulnerability and resilience to disease." In this analysis, researchers sought to understand whether associations previously identified between cognitive status, gene expression and brain pathologies—such as the plaques and tangles typically found in Alzheimer's disease—held true in a well characterized, aged population. To achieve this goal, researchers developed a state of the art approach combining traditional and quantitative measures to probe the relationships between gene expression and age-related neurodegeneration.

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