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Harvard Researchers Find Type of Plaque That Causes Alzheimer's

Posted by Jane Akre
Monday, June 23, 2008 12:30 PM EST
Category: Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: FDA and Prescription Drugs, Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia, Brain Injury

A certain type of plaque caused Alzheimer's in rats, not the other two.



IMAGE SOURCE:  Wikimedia Commons/ Alzheimer’s in stages/ author: NASA 


The race is on to find a cure of Alzheimer’s Disease which robs minds of their knowledge, memories, and of a life.

Scientists know that plaque clutters brains of people with dementia and Altzheimer’s and the plaque is made up of a sticky protein, beta-amyloid.  And tangles of protein, tau, also may interrupt the brain’s functioning by affecting the communication of brain synapses.

Reporting in Sunday’s online edition of Nature Medicine, scientists from Harvard Medical School, caused Alzheimer’s symptoms in rats.

They injected the rats with a form of beta-amyloid, extracted from the brains of people who had donated their bodies to medicine.

The rats showed characteristics of Alzheimer’s from the two-molecule form of soluble beta-amyloid protein, such as impaired memory, but not the soluble one-molecule or three-molecule forms.

"A lot of work needs to be done," Dr. Marcelle Morrison-Bogorad tells Associated Press.  "Nature keeps sending us down paths that look straight at the beginning, but there are a lot of curves before we get to the end."

It continues to be a mystery why some people with the beta-amyloid plaque do not show symptoms of the disease. This may explain that the type of beta-amyloid plaque is what is crucial.

In February, the National Institutes of Health reported that rates of cognitive impairment are on the decline among older Americans.

By the year 2050, it is estimated there will be as many as 16 million with Alzheimer’s disease, up from five million today.  #

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