The study appears in the Feb. 1 online issue of Neurology.
What does the study suggest about the brain plaque? "One idea is that it's a first step in a cascade of events that ultimately leads to Alzheimer's disease," Park said. "Another possibility is that although the amyloid is there, maybe it won't increase or harm the individual for 20 or more years, that it doesn't progress as rapidly as many people think it does."
Dr. Brad Dickerson, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said the study is important because it adds to previous research that links higher levels of beta amyloid to cognitive problems.
"It will be interesting to follow these individuals over time in order to see whether these differences between people have any implications for risk for future cognitive decline," he said. "It would also be interesting to investigate other types of measures of brain structure and function in these individuals."
For more about Alzheimer's disease, try the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
SOURCES: Denise Park, Ph.D., professor and cognitive neuroscientist, University of Texas at Dallas; Brad Dickerson, M.D., associate professor, neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Feb. 1, 2012, Neurology
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