Alzheimer’s disease, long thought to be a single disease, really consists of three distinct subtypes, according to a UCLA study.

The finding could lead to more highly targeted research and, eventually, new treatments for the debilitating neurological disorder, which robs people of their memories.

The study further found that one of the three variations, the cortical subtype, appears to be fundamentally a different condition than the other two, said Dr. Dale Bredesen, the study’s author, a UCLA professor of neurology and member of the Easton Laboratory for Neurodegenerative Disease Research.

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