ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alzheimer's disease. Coloured sagittal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI, top) and positron emission tomography (PET, bottom) scans of the brain of a 58-year-old woman diagnosed two years previously with Alzheimer's disease. The front of the brain is at left. These scans (both from the left cerebral hemisphere) show the left temporal lobe and significant cortical atrophy. The PET scan shows a significant absence (green area, arrowed) of metabolism in the hippocampus region. Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease and a common cause of dementia in the elderly. It is caused by the formation of protein plaques in the brain, which kill surrounding neurons. The cause of these plaques is not known and there is no cure.
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