Amyloid beta brain deposits may not be the only risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Investigators have found that people with Down syndrome who also have Alzheimer’s disease show energy metabolism deficits. These deficits are similar to those seen in people who have late-stage Alzheimer’s disease in the general population.  

This suggests that other modifiable risk factors, such as the amount of fats in our blood and our body’s energy efficiency could also play important roles in Alzheimer’s development, said first author Mark Mapstone, Ph.D., and colleagues from the University of California, Irvine.

“[A]myloid accumulation, which occurs from birth in Down syndrome, may not be the only factor determining Alzheimer’s risk,” he said. “Our discovery could open new avenues for preventing this metabolic deficit in all people at risk for the disease.”

In other dementia research news, investigators from McGill University, Canada, have found a link between mild behavioral impairment in otherwise cognitively healthy individuals and amyloid plaques in the brain. They hope to conduct imaging studies to confirm whether these behavioral impairments can predict Alzheimer’s-related brain changes.

The study was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.