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Brain reserve capacity and its role in preventing clinical signs of Alzheimer's disease studied

Since the pathology of Alzheimer's disease can only be documented by examining brain tissue under a microscope after death, volunteers will sign an Anatomical Gift Act donating their brains to Rush investigators at the time of death.

Researchers will look at both the pathologic markers of common diseases and several possible structural elements of neural reserve. The pathologic markers will represent the post-mortem features of Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and cerebrovascular disease. The structural elements of neural reserve will include neurons, synapses, dendrites, and dendritic spines.

Researchers will examine how different factors are related to these two different sets of post-mortem markers, and whether the structural elements of neural reserve can reduce the extent to which pathology is expressed as clinical disease.

Medical research has made remarkable progress toward increasing life expectancy for older people," said Bennett. "Unfortunately, many people develop problems with memory, walking and weakness as they get older. Although these problems are common, they are not normal," according to Bennett, "since many older people do not develop these problems. Available information suggests that these problems may be caused by neurologic conditions that damage different parts of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles."


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Contact: John Pontarelli
jpontare@rsh.net
312-942-5949
Rush University Medical Center
22-Jul-2002


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