Monday, November 17, 2008

The Future of Alzheimer's?

[17 November 2008 - NPR] Researchers think they've discovered precisely what damages brain cells and causes memory loss in people who have Alzheimer's disease. Brain scientists present the latest evidence at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience this week in Washington, D.C. ... There is growing evidence that small clusters of a protein called amyloid beta are what cause brain damage in Alzheimer's disease. Scientists at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C., say clusters of just two or three amyloid beta protein molecules can damage synapses, the connections between brain cells. New research also shows that plaques of amyloid beta — much larger groupings made up of millions of cells — are not nearly as harmful as the small clusters. Until the past couple of years, amyloid beta plaques were considered the most likely cause of Alzheimer's brain damage. But Dennis Selkoe, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, said the new findings suggest that hypothesis is wrong. More


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