The "glucocorticoid cascade hypothesis" for pathological ageing of the brain is supported by strong experimental data, but the clinical correlates are far less clear. The basal ACTH and cortisol secretion have been studied before and after the dexamethasone suppression test in patients in the early stages of clinically probable Alzheimer's disease and in controls, and the results were all normal. These findings do not support the hypothesis that the pathological brain ageing of Alzheimer's type is caused by hyperactivity of the pituitary-adrenal axis.
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