A major Australian study offers new insights into the loss of brain structures and the potential link with Alzheimer's disease.
The study finding published in Neurology suggests a build-up of protein amyloid-beta deposits in a region of the brain known as the temporal inferior cortex, which is connected to the hippocampus - a region that is involved in memory functions.
Alzheimer's disease is trademarked by two factors; a build-up of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain, and loss of neurons.
Dr Cassandra Szoke, theme leader of CSIRO's Preventative Health Flagship said the researchers are puzzled that parts of the brain that had shrunk (atrophied) due to neuron loss were not similar as those showing elevated deposits of amyloid-beta.
The researchers discovered the shrinking (atrophy) of the hippocampus was linked with plaque build-ups in the temporal inferior complex, observed using MRI scans.
The results show that increased accumulation of amyloid in the temporal inferior cortex compromises connections with the hippocampus, leading to the loss of neurons.
Dr Szoeke said, By helping to better understand the mechanisms involved in the progression of the disease, the study may guide the development of new strategies for early diagnosis.