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Neurobiol Aging. 1997 May-Jun;18(3):267-73.

Modeling the relation between neurofibrillary tangles and intellectual status.

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Raymond Escourolle Neuropathology Laboratory, INSERM U360 & Association Claude Bernard, La Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France.


The relationship between the neurofibrillary tangles and the intellectual deficit observed in senile dementia of the Alzheimer type was studied in 27 patients over the age of 75. The presence and density of tau positive tangles were assessed in six areas including limbic, paralimbic, and isocortical cortices. In the isocortical areas, the presence [1] or absence [0] of neurofibrillary tangles was better correlated with the Blessed test score than the density of the neurofibrillary tangles profiles. Multivariate analysis showed that the number of areas containing at least one neurofibrillary tangle was the best explanatory variable of the intellectual status. The cortical areas were ranked according to the prevalence of their involvement. The presence of tangles in an area of a given rank took place only if the areas of lower ranks were also involved. It is proposed that the presence of tangles in a given area is a more significant information than the value of their density. These data may lead to new diagnostic procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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