Some brains appear to compensate for the build-up of destructive beta-amyloid plaque, new research suggests.The study, published in Nature Neuroscience, could help explain why some older people who have beta-amyloid deposits do not develop dementia. Using brain imaging technology, known as functional MRI (fMRI), the researchers monitored the participants’ brain activity while they memorized pictures of various scenes.

fMRI scans revealed that those with beta-amyloid buildups showed increased brain activity as detail and complexity of the memory increased, indicating that the brain may compensate for the destructive protein.

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