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The pattern of brain changes associated with Alzheimer's disease is more subtle in people over the age of 80, according to a new study published in the August 10 online issue of the American Academy of Neurology's medical journal.
In a study of 105 people with Alzheimer's disease and 125 people without any dementia, participants were tested on language, attention and speed of processing information as well as executive function and ability to recall information. The researchers split the participants into age-specific groups - ages 69 to 75 and age 80 or above.
Although the two age-specific groups had similar levels of overall cognitive impairment, the researchers report that the pattern of Alzheimer's-related changes was much less pronounced in people over the age of 80 compared with the younger group.
Participants also underwent brain scans to measure the thickness of the outer tissue layers in the cerebrum, and the participants over the age of 80 show less severe thinning than the younger group. However, researchers noted that these brain areas tend to thin due to age, so the brain thickness differences were not great between the two groups.