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Just when you thought Alzheimer`s was single disease

Maria Rosa, 70, a patient with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, and former business administrator, poses for a photograph inside the Alzheimer Foundation in Mexico city, April 19, 2012. Alzheimer's is a progressive, degenerative disease that robs people of memory, reasoning and the ability to communicate. About 24 million people worldwide have the disease, according to the World Health Organization. In Mexico, 600,000 Mexicans out of 9 million adults over the age 60 suffer from Alzheimer's, according to the Institute of Geriatrics (INGER). Picture taken April 19, 2012. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido (MEXICO - Tags: HEALTH SOCIETY)

Washington: A recent study has revealed that Alzheimer’s disease comes in three types, suggesting that each variation would need to be treated differently.

The UCLA finding could lead to more highly targeted research and, eventually, new treatments for the debilitating neurological disorder, which robs people of their memories.

The study further found that one of the three variations, the cortical subtype, appears to be fundamentally a different condition than the other two, said author Dale Bredesen.

Because the presentation varies from person to person, there has been suspicion for years that Alzheimer’s represents more than one illness, said Bredesen, adding that when laboratory tests go beyond the usual tests, they find these three distinct subtypes.

He added that the important implications of this are that the optimal treatment may be different for each group, there may be different causes, and, for future clinical trials, it may be helpful to study specific groups separately.

The subtypes are “inflammatory,” in which markers such as C-reactive protein and serum albumin to globulin ratios are increased, “non-inflammatory,” in which these markers are not increased but other metabolic abnormalities are present, and “cortical,” which affects relatively young individuals and appears more widely distributed across the brain than the other subtypes of Alzheimer’s.

No effective therapy for Alzheimer’s exists. And scientists have yet to completely identify the cause, although multiple studies have pointed to metabolic abnormalities such as insulin resistance, hormonal deficiencies and hyperhomocysteinemia, a condition characterized by an abnormally high level of an amino acid in the blood.

The findings appear in the current issue of the peer-reviewed journal Aging. (ANI)