For many years, the term "Alzheimer's disease" and "dementia" are used interchangeably, often as an all-encompassing term to describe the cognitive decline and memory loss.
But a new study published today suggests the two conditions do not share the same sense, and that the understanding of dementia may be incorrect.
"Much of what we think about dementia was wrong," said Dr. Peter Healthline Nelson, lead author of the study and Professor Sanders-Brown Center on Aging at the University of Kentucky.
"Previously, we thought that it was okay to use the terms" Alzheimer's "and" dementia "are used interchangeably. But we now know that Alzheimer's disease with & # 39 is just one of the many ways to dementia, "he explained.
According to the researchers, recent clinical trials have shown that not all people are believed to have Alzheimer's disease actually have the condition.
In fact, many people involved in clinical trials for Alzheimer's drugs have been found not to have amyloid in their brains. Amyloid is a sticky substance preventing cognitive process.
In recent years the scientific community has also noted that a significant number of people with advanced dementia symptoms are not signs or amyloid or tau proteins in their brain at autopsy were performed after their death.
It is believed that the protein known as TPD-43 & # 39 is one factor instead.
Nelson & # 39 is part of a group of international researchers who have established to determine the diagnostic criteria for this protein, recently called dementia called later that advocates of the limbic vast age TDP-43 encephalopathy.
Specific disease with & # 39; is in the elderly and it looks differently in the brain than does Alzheimer's disease, even if it is similar to the deadly disease.
"After recently described the cause of dementia, but there are continuing research on it for about 15 years," said Kate Healthline ONLY Fargo, Ph.D., director of scientific programs and outreach activities in the Alzheimer's Association. "Many people later, especially those over 80 years and it presents itself in ways that are very similar to the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. According to the study authors, about 1 in 4 people over 85 years of age have enough TPD-43 protein, which brings to an end have problems with memory and thinking. Today, many people with MHE may be diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. "
The idea that the TPD-43 may contribute to cognitive decline or memory loss is not new. The researchers studied the idea in the past decade.
A study by Nelson and his colleagues from the & # 39 is the first to give the name of the findings, as well as to collect data, to look at how general this.
Fargo says the work will help to ensure more effective prevention and treatment programs for people with dementia.
"Research like this can bring us closer to the accuracy of medicine in the future, where people get personalized prevention and treatment based on their unique health," he said. "Accurate identification of biological changes in the later – and other forms of dementia – supports a better understanding of the brain that would eventually lead researchers to develop new therapeutic agents, a reasonable target these symptoms that cause the disease."
Experts say that this study does not emphasize that it is not appropriate to use the terms of Alzheimer's disease and dementia, as if they were the same.
"They should not be used interchangeably," said Dr. Michael Healthline Greicius, associate professor of the department of neurology at Stanford University in California. "Dementia with & # 39 is a generic term meaning that someone has had a change in their cognitive abilities, which makes them unable to live safely and independently. Under this umbrella term, there are many different causes of dementia. Alzheimer's disease & # 39 is the most common cause of dementia, followed by vascular dementia, dementia of the body cells Levi, frontotemporal dementia, and now somewhere in the queue, perhaps later. "
Brittany Dugger, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of California Davis School of Medicine Department of Pathology. She said that having clear definitions for complex terms is not only useful for doctors but also for patients.
"Definitions are important. One patient told me once that they were relieved when they received their diagnosis, since he gave the name of what they feel, "said Healthline Dugger. "However, many of our definitions in the field of dementia in later, with the & # 39 are abnormal, that is, only after a person dies, it is possible to give a diagnosis."
"The true test if these definitions can be significant in terms of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis," she explained. "Further work is the study of different cohorts and populations, if possible with the & # 39 is justified."
Nelson likens the work of the study group at the end of opening similar to Benjamin Franklin's electricity. Franklin was able to formalize the idea, supported by others to study electricity.
Similarly, Nelson says, providing a scientific focus and the idea behind the name TPD-43, researchers around the world can promote their understanding of dementia and, in turn, open up new possibilities for treatment.
"It ultimately comes down to what makes people better and improve public health. Everything else is just window dressing, "he said. "We hope that this report will help to get these people later with dementia syndrome of clinical trials of Alzheimer's disease … the fact that people of non-Alzheimer's in these studies was one reason why they have failed, probably. And, of course, secondly, we need new clinical trials for late ".