The amount of blood flowing into the brain may play a larger role in the development of dementia than previously believed, according to a study in the September issue of the journal Radiology.
Researchers from Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to examine the brains of elderly patients with and without dementia related to Alzheimers or Parkinsons disease. As expected, MR images showed that the patients with late-onset dementia had more brain damage compared with young adults and with seniors who had optimal cognitive function. But researchers found that the late-onset dementia group also had a much lower rate of blood flow to the brain than the other two groups.
"Our findings not only support the hypothesis that vascular factors contribute to dementia in the elderly, they are highly suggestive that a diminished cerebral blood flow indeed causes brain damage," said Aart Spilt, M.D., a Leiden radiology resident and lead author of the study. "This gives us a clue to the genesis of dementia."
Maureen Morley | EurekAlert!
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