Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Breakthrough in Understanding Alzheimer's Disease

People who suffer from Alzheimer's disease are found to have plaques made up of a substance called Beta Amyloid in their brains. Some scientists have believed that Beta Amyloid is the cause of Alzheimer's, but because Beta Amyloid is also sometimes found in the brains of patients who don't have the disease, other scientists have believed that Beta Amyloid is part of the body's response to Alzheimer's.

According to a CNN report, researchers have now discovered that one specific form of Beta Amyloid, when injected into the brains of mice, caused Alzheimer's-like symptoms, but other forms did not. That could explain why some people with Beta Amyloid in their brains do not have Alzheimer's—they have one of the other two versions of the plaques.

The work will need to be duplicated, but this discovery could be just the breakthrough that was needed to help provide better understanding of Alzheimer's and eventually—hopefully—lead to better treatments and possibly a cure.

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