New research has emerged that may give scientists a new clue as to the workings of Alzheimer's disease and how it develops.
To further understand the mechanism of the disease, scientists measured the volume of participants' brains at the beginning and at the end of the study. They found those with smaller hippocampal volumes and higher rates of shrinkage were two to four times as likely to develop dementia compared to those who had larger hippocampal volumes.
"This finding seems to reflect that at the stage of mild cognitive impairment, considerable atrophy has already occurred in the hippocampus," said Dr.
Wouter Henneman, author of the study. "In people who already have Alzheimer's disease, the loss of nerve cells is more widespread throughout the brain."
The study involved 64 people diagnosed with Alzheimer's, 44 people with mild cognitive impairment and 34 people with no memory problems.
A year and a half later, 23 of the people with mild cognitive impairment had developed Alzheimer's along with three people from the control group.
Past research has indicated certain diets and brain exercises may prevent the onset of the disease for some people.