For decades, researchers have been examining the development of Alzheimer’s through one particular basic model, despite the fact that not all Alzheimer’s diagnoses present with the same symptoms and progression. However, a new dementia research breakthrough is on the horizon.
Now, a new, collaborative study between the US, Sweden, Canada, and Korea is revealing some interesting information to help us better understand and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Rather than one universal, dominant diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, researchers have discovered that there are 4 distinct variants that occur in as many as 18 – 30% of cases. This shift in thinking is helping researchers more fully comprehend the variations in the disease from one person to another.
This dementia research breakthrough is also significant in that it’s allowing specialists to begin to individualize treatment plans based on the particular subgroup diagnosed.
The research study reviewed data from over 1,600 men and women, identifying over 1,100 who were either in various stages of Alzheimer's disease or who were not cognitively impaired at all. Researchers followed these participants for more than two years, funneling every person who presented tau abnormalities into four specific sub-groups:
Oskar Hansson, professor of neurology at Lund University and supervisor of the study, explains next steps: “…we need a longer follow-up study over five to ten years to be able to confirm the four patterns with even greater accuracy.”
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