Though some people may die of Alzheimer’s disease, their ability to retain perfect memories and sharp minds have intrigued researchers.
Those people have a larger part of the brain called the hippocampus, which may have protected them from the effects of Alzheimer’s disease-related brain changes, a new study has found.
Researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University evaluated the brains of 12 people who had sharp memories and thinking skills at the time of death, but whose autopsies revealed Alzheimer’s plaques.
Their brains were compared to those of 23 people who had the same amount of plaques in their brains, but had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease before death, according to Deniz Erten-Lyons, the study’s author.
Researchers found that hippocampus was 20 percent greater in the cognitively intact group, compared to the Alzheimer’s disease group with dementia.
There were no other demographic, clinical or pathological differences between the groups and the results remained the same regardless of gender, age, and total brain volume.