Navigation Links
Greater Language Skills in 20s May Guard Against Alzheimer's

Small study found women who wrote more articulate essays were protected from symptoms

WEDNESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) -- Women with greater language abilities in early adulthood were less likely to have Alzheimer's disease later in life, even when autopsies revealed the clear brain changes that are hallmarks of the disease.

Also, the brains of women without symptoms of Alzheimer's housed bigger neurons, according to a study appearing in the July 9 online edition of Neurology.

"We noticed that the neurons in this group of people are larger and we also know that the same group of people we call asymptomatic also had higher language skills during their 20s," said study author Dr. Diego Iacono, a research fellow in neuropathology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

It's possible that the larger neurons compensated for the brain plaques and tangles that are usually indicative of Alzheimer's, the authors stated.

The findings could also mean that language abilities in the early 20s can predict the risk of developing dementia several decades later.

A previous study, this one in men, also found larger neurons in individuals who had plaques and tangles but no clinical evidence of Alzheimer's.

For the current study, researchers examined the brains of 38 deceased Catholic nuns, part of the ongoing Nun Study.

Women were divided into two groups: those with symptoms of memory loss along with plaques and tangles and those with no memory loss whether or not they had plaques or tangles.

Essays written by the women when they first entered the convent in their late teens or early 20s were analyzed for richness of language skills, including how many ideas were expressed per 10 words, number of verbs and adjectives in one sentence and more.

Women without memory problems scored 20 percent higher on language tests (though not grammar tests) than did women with memory issues. "We think this percentage could be higher if we could increase the sample size of the subjects to examine. We are working on that," Iacono said.

"The novelty is that these people were normal [cognitively] but they have Alzheimer's disease pathology like the people with dementia," Iacono said. "It's amazing that, even though you have a certain amount of pathology in your brain, you are not demented. You have some protective mechanism."

It's not clear whether that protection comes from genetic factors or from more studying during the first two decades of life, although it does fit with the "cognitive reserve" theory.

"The idea is that we have a sort of cognitive reserve that we start to increase during our second and third decades of life, and you can spend this reserve when you get older," Iacono explained. "In this way, you can avoid the manifestation of dementia even if you have some pathology. This is something we didn't expect."

"This is the second independent sample with the same result. We're back to the metaphor of the brain as a computer and a muscle," said Dr. Gary J. Kennedy, director of geriatric psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. "In volunteers who had no signs of Alzheimer's but did have the plaques and tangles, the neurons were actually larger and more functional with more connections."

The paper also showed an increased risk for cognitive impairment in people with the APOE4 gene and a protective effect in those with the APOE2 gene.

The authors are now investigating to see if they can show a connection between the language skills and these particular genes.

More information

Visit the Alzheimer's Association for more on this condition.

SOURCES: Gary J. Kennedy, M.D., director, geriatric psychiatry, Montefiore Medical Center, New York City; Diego Iacono, M.D., Ph.D., research fellow, neuropathology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore; July 9, 2009, Neurology, online

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Travelers Face Greater Risk of Leg Clots
2. Coapt Systems, Inc. Launches Hydrelle(TM) a New, FDA-Approved Dermal Filler with Lidocaine for Significant Wrinkle Correction and Greater Patient Comfort
3. Cancer survivors at greater risk of birth complications; special monitoring needed
4. Focused Health Solutions Partners With Emmi Solutions to Help Employers Achieve Greater Returns on Their Employee Health Care Investments
5. $11.5 Million in New Support to the Greater Grady Campaign
6. IPC The Hospitalist Company Inc. CEO, Adam Singer, M.D., Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2009 Award Winner in the Greater Los Angeles Area
7. Being overweight, obese during early adulthood associated with greater risk of pancreatic cancer
8. Angelo Masciantonio, CEO and Co-Founder of HTH Worldwide Named Ernst & Young 2009 Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) in Greater Philadelphia
9. Kensey Nash Corporations CEO & President, Joe Kaufmann Named Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year(R) 2009 Award Winner in Greater Philadelphia Region
10. More Than 5,000 Expected for Greater Chicago Food Depositorys 24th Annual Hunger Walk on Saturday, June 20, at Montrose Harbor
11. Accordia Global Health Foundation Calls for Greater Investment to Build African Healthcare Leadership
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Greater Language Skills in 20s May Guard Against Alzheimer's
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Willey , has answered a new calling – to relieve snoring and sleep apnea for ... and sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy. He is one of a number ... of four in the Illinois area. , Dr. Willey’s location is at 11825 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dr. Kevin Day, local ... help the community stress less this holiday season. During the Indiana winter months, ... people's lives and the team at AlignLife want to help provide the tools needed ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... OR (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... Dehydration, ... too much body water to perspiration in the hot sun, and heat stroke and ... Fresh water advocate and radio host Sharon Kleyne. Every cell, system and structure requires ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... There’s nothing better than giving the gift of green this holiday ... , This year, gardens are popping up in the most unexpected places. A variety ... Gardens’ African Keyhole Garden Bed ($499) , Water conscious gardeners – and that should ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Tudore Tranquility is a new restaurant in Tokyo, ... plant-based fine dining menu that is full of flavorful and creative dishes that exceed ... wedding dinner or a small intimate event. The décor looks stunning with gold and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Abaxis, Inc. (NasdaqGS: ABAX ), a ... the medical, research, and veterinary markets worldwide, announced today ... present at the 27 th Annual Piper Jaffray ... a.m. ET. The conference will be held at The ... City . Abaxis, Inc. is a ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Edelris announce today that they have ... Poxel, CNRS, UCBL and ENS-Lyon on a new treatment to ... Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major public ... worldwide, 20 to 40% of them being at risk of ... existence of an effective preventive vaccine, the HBV infection is ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... MONROVIA, Calif. , Nov. 24, 2015 ... company developing engineered monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of ... announced that Bassil Dahiyat , Ph.D., president and ... in December: , 2015 Piper Jaffray Healthcare ... ET Location: New York, NY ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: