PART (primary age-related tauopathy) research

One of Brain Support Network’s missions is to facilitate brain donations around the US for various neurodegenerative disorders and healthy controls.  A good percentage of the neuropathology reports are returned with the finding of primary age-related tauopathy (PART).  PART is a disorder of the protein tau.  To be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD), one must have both tau tangles and amyloid plaques.  In PART, only the tau tangles are present.  And the tau tangles are in the medial temporal lobes.  PART is *only* diagnosed through brain donation or brain autopsy.

Recently-published research out of Spain compared the pathology and clinical progression of those with PART and those with AD.  Researchers found that cognition declines more slowly in PART than in AD.
About a decade ago, researchers had wondered if PART was actually an early stage of AD.  With this paper out of Spain, commenters said, “The differing biomarker and cognitive trajectories of the [two] groups refute the idea that [PART] may represent an early stage of, or an alternative pathway to, AD.”  (Susan Landau, University of California, Berkeley, and Elizabeth Mormino, Stanford University School of Medicine, wrote in a JAMA Neurology editorial.)