Taking longer to process thoughts and problem solve by reasoning, suggest brain plaque. It also slows down logical thinking and memory, says the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation. Brain plaque can severely reduce or block blood flow to the brain, causing a stroke, according to the Mayfield Clinic.
Brain plaque related to Alzheimer's disease consists of a protein called beta-amyloid, notes the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation. A study done in Texas showed that, generally, higher levels of beta-amyloid were found the older the person was. In the study, plaque level was particularly elevated in approximately one out of five people over the age of 60, especially in those who carried the gene associated with a greater risk for developing Alzheimer's. This gene is APOE-E4.
Brain plaque can cause stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) in one of three ways, according to the Mayfield Clinic. It can grow large enough to severely impede or even totally block blood flow in an artery in the brain. It can deform an artery wall, causing the formation of a blood clot which blocks blood flow. Plaque may rupture or break up, with a piece then travelling away from its original site and lodging in a smaller artery, blocking blood flow in the brain.