Scientists identify the cause of Alzheimer’s progression in the brain – University of Cambridge

The spread of Alzheimer’s Disease has often been described using terms like “chain reaction.”  But a new international study, led by the University of Cambridge (London), has discovered evidence of a different process.  According to a press release about the study:

[Researchers] found that instead of starting from a single point in the brain and initiating a chain reaction which leads to the death of brain cells, Alzheimer’s disease reaches different regions of the brain early. How quickly the disease kills cells in these regions, through the production of toxic protein clusters, limits how quickly the disease progresses overall.  The researchers used post-mortem brain samples from Alzheimer’s patients, as well as PET scans from living patients, who ranged from those with mild cognitive impairment to those with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, to track the aggregation of tau, one of two key proteins implicated in the condition.

And this research may have implications for other disorders of the protein tau.  The press release says:

The researchers are now planning to look at the earlier processes in the development of the disease, and extend the studies to other diseases such as Frontal temporal dementia, traumatic brain injury and progressive supranuclear palsy where tau aggregates are also formed during disease.

These findings may affect exploration of future treatments of AD, FTD, TBI, and PSP.

Read more of the press release about the research here.

Obviously this study highlights the importance of brain donation, which Brain Support Network (www.brainsupportnetwork.org) can help arrange.