Vascular neck abnormality may contribute to Alzheimer's

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An international study has discovered a vascular issue that may contribute to Alzheimer's disease and other aging-related neurological disorders.

Researchers in the United States, England and Taiwan examined an abnormality in the internal jugular veins called jugular venus reflux (JVR). The condition occurs when blood leaks backward into the brain.

"We were especially interested to find an association between JVR and white matter changes in the brains of patients with Alzheimer's disease and those with mild cognitive impairment," said Robert Zivadinov, M.D., Ph.D., FAAN, professor of neurology at the University of Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and senior author.

The brain's white matter enables communication between nerve cells. Change in white matter has been linked to the buildup of amyloid plaque that has been associated with Alzheimer's disease.

The study involved 12 Alzheimer's patients, 24 subjects with mild cognitive impairment and 17 age-matched elderly controls. Participants underwent Doppler ultrasound exams and magnetic resonance imaging scans.

Researchers said a larger study is needed to validate their research. The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease published the pilot study.

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