Alzheimer Disease: Aging or Age-related ?

Author: O. Bugiani
Submitted: Wednesday 8th of September 2010 08:29:12 AM
Submitted by: egf
Educational levels: expert, qc1, qc2, qc3



This lecture focuses on the relationship between Aβ deposition and neurodegeneration in AD compared to the normal aging of the brain. The question in the title refers to whether Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia in the elderly, affects some people who are more vulnerable than others, or is a unavoidable outcome of aging. The second view meets the largest agreement among scientists based on prevalence of dementia exponentially increasing along with aging, and the observation as well that brain aging and AD share such lesions as tangles and Aβ accumulation in the grey structures. Assuming the latter responsible for neurodegeneration (amyloid cascade theory), AD appears to be the issue of increased production of Aβ and of more neurotoxic Aβ species and/or metabolites. At difference from this view, however, prevalence of dementia looks higher by age 75 through 95 compared to the exponential model, and lower after 95, suggesting that in AD neurons are more vulnerable to Aβ than in normal aging. Abnormally vulnerable neurons might result from defective nerve cell selection during development, or from uneven neurogenesis in adult life.


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O. Bugiani. Alzheimer Disease: Aging or Age-related ?. EUROGENE portal. September 2010. online:


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