“Humans are considered uniquely susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, potentially due to genetic differences, changes in brain structure and function during evolution, and an increased lifespan. However, a new study provides the most extensive evidence of Alzheimer’s disease brain pathology in a primate species to date. Researchers found that the brains of aged chimpanzees, our closest living relatives, show pathology similar to the human Alzheimer’s disease brain.”
There is new research on the brain and Alzheimer’s from Kent State University that is quite eye opening and interesting. The study analyzed the brains of elderly chimpanzees our closest relatives whom we share about 98% of our DNA with. What they found was pathology in the chimp brains similar to what we see in humans suffering from the disease.
Estimates are that about 1/3 of people over age 65 suffer from some form of dementia in the USA and the most common cause of this dementia is Alzheimer’s. This disease is a progressive disease and it is irreversible. It results in impaired cognitive functioning and behavior changes including aggressiveness and combativeness in some patients. Genetic differences are attributed to explaining just why humans are so susceptible to the disease including changes in brain structure and functioning and researchers believe this is connected to our evolution and increased life span. However, this new research shows something similar also happens in the brains and functioning in elderly chimps! Continue Reading