New Clue to the Cause of Alzheimers
by Stan Readley
It’s long been known that beta amyloid, a disruptive plaque substance, forms on the brain as Alzheimer’s disease progresses. What is not known is if the plaque causes the disease, or is caused by it. Particularly confusing: some people have beta amyloid in their brain and no Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Ganesh M. Shankar and Dr. Dennis J. Selkoe of Harvard Medical School led a study that collected beta amyloid samples from cadavers donated to science and injected them into the brains of mice. Surprisingly, not all the mice developed Alzheimers. Only the mice who received a particular strain of beta amyloid developed the neurological disease. The two-molecule, soluble beta-amyloid seems to clog the synapses and disrupt communication between sections of the brain.
The study seems to directly inculpate a single form of beta amyloid as the cause of Alzheimers. If further studies corroborate these findings, we could be on the way to discovering the cause and cure for the degenerative neurological disease.