Beta-Amyloid Protein Buildup Linked to Anxiety, Depression in Older People, Study Finds

Beta-Amyloid Protein Buildup Linked to Anxiety, Depression in Older People, Study Finds
Increased amounts of beta-amyloid proteins often lead to worse anxiety symptoms in cognitive healthy, older individuals, according to a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry. The study, "Longitudinal Association of Amyloid Beta and Anxious-Depressive Symptoms in Cognitively Normal Older Adults" supports the hypothesis that emerging symptoms like anxiety and depression can be a precursor of preclinical Alzheimer's disease in elderly people. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive accumulation of toxic proteins, such as beta-amyloid and tau, in the brain. The accumulation process may start more than a decade before the first manifestations of brain function decline, designated as preclinical stage of the disease. Previous studies have suggested that anxiety and depression contribute to Alzheimer's, and that these and other neuropsychiatric symptoms could help predict Alzheimer's progression during early stages of the disease. To better understand the association between brain beta-amyloid proteins and depression symptoms, a team led by researchers from Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital evaluated the clinical records of 270 older individuals with no reporte
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  1. A likely explanation for this finding is TAU build up in the axons of neurons of the locus coeruleus, leading to anxiety (associated with the locus coeruleus) and depression (noradrenergic deficit), while the beta-amyloid build up is probably a closely related side-effect, not involved in causing the symptoms. Thus, an association with beta-amyloid, but not evidence that beta-amyloid causes the symptoms. Tau build-up in the locus coeruleus is probably the earliest measurable change in the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. No progress will be made in understanding or treating Alzheimer’s disease until it is understood that beta-amyloid is not in the causal chain leading to Alzheimer dementia, but APOE genotype (which is also associated with elevated beta-amyloid in the brain but decrease in the CSF) is.

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