Communication gain

Published: Tuesday 30 April 1996

The'notion that alzheimer's disease -mental deterioration -strikes only the old suffered a severe jolt following a study of nuns by David A Snowdon, professor of preventive medicine at the University of Kentucky; US. David studied old autobiographies of 104 nuns from the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The average age of the nuns at that time was 22. The scientists later autopsied the brains of 25 nuns, 10 of whom had alzheimer's. Those with low linguistic ability when young, had copious neurofibrillary tangles- the classic abnormality of alzheimer's -when they were old. The greatest differences in brain lesions among subjects with alzheimer's and others were in the temporal lobe -the primary language centre of the brain.

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