Study: head size influences Alzheimer's

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Head size affects Alzheimer's. Relationship between skull size and Alzheimer's by MIRAGE study.

(14.07.2010) A study at the Klinikum rechts der Isar at the Technical University of Munich has established a connection between the head circumference and memory performance in Alzheimer's patients.

The researchers around the psychiatrist and senior physician of the Munich Clinic for Psychiatry, Dr. Robert Perneczky took the measurements of the head circumference of 270 Alzheimer's sufferers and related them to the results of clinical dementia tests. They have now published in the journal "Neurology" of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) under the title "Head circumference, atrophy, and cognition" the knowledge that the best results in memory and thinking tests were those with the largest head circumference .

The team around Dr. Perneczky basically advocates the theory that the larger circumference of the head offers more space for reserves of brain performance, yet the same amount of brain cells has died in all those affected. Furthermore, the head circumference is not determined, but can be influenced by influences in childhood. By the age of six, over 90 percent of the development of the size of the brain has been completed. The way of pregnancy and early childhood could influence the later Alzheimer's disease via the head volume. An improved quality of life in these periods could have a positive impact on prevention. Conversely, there is also the question of whether living conditions for toddlers have deteriorated to such an extent that there is an increase in Alzheimer's disease.

Around 700,000 people are currently suffering from Alzheimer's disease in Germany. There are said to be around 120,000 new cases annually. Alzheimer's disease, in which sufferers suffer from increasing functional impairments of the memory and the orientation areas of the brain, was first described in 1901 by psychiatrist and neuropathologist Dr. Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915), after whom she is also named. (tf)

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