In some cases, memory loss among the elderly may be due to so-called “silent strokes,” new research suggests.
Such strokes, which may not cause any noticeable symptoms, result in small pockets of dead brain cells, and are found in roughly 25 percent of older adults, the study team noted.
“The new aspect of this study of memory loss in the elderly is that it examines silent strokes and [brain] shrinkage simultaneously,” study author Adam Brickman, of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, explained in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology.
The research, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is slated for publication in the Jan. 3 issue of the journal Neurology.
The study authors arrived at their conclusions after working with 658 men and women aged 65 and older, none of whom had a history of dementia.
All the participants underwent MRI brain scans, as well as testing to gauge their capacities in terms of memory, language skills, thinking speed and visual perception.