Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Mum, metabolism and memory loss

A U.S. study into Alzheimer's disease has suggested that people may be more at risk of developing the condition if their mothers had it. The researchers studied people with a family history of the disease as people with an affected parent are 4-10 times more likely to develop it. In the last twenty years a number of studies have shown that people with Alzheimer's have significant reductions in energy metabolism in certain parts of the brain and these reductions are apparent years before symptoms develop. The study, of 49 people, compared energy metabolism in the medial temporal lobes and the posterior cingulate cortex - two brain regions involved with memory storage and retrieval. The participants were also administered neuropyschological and clinical tests. People whose mother had had the disease had the largest reduction in glucose metabolism ; down by 25% in the posteriour cingulate cortex. People with no family history of the disease or whose fathers had had it showed no signs of a decrease in energy metabolism.

You can find out more about this study at

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