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How Alzheimer's spreads in brain

Washington, Sat, 04 Feb 2012 ANI

Washington, Feb 4 (ANI): Two different research groups, which worked independent of each other, have made the same important discovery on how Alzheimer's disease spreads in the brain.


According to a story in the New York Times in February 2, the groups' findings have the potential to give us a much more sophisticated understanding of what goes wrong in Alzheimer's disease and, more importantly, what can be done to prevent or repair damage in the brain.


The Times reported on the research teams of Bradley T. Hyman, MD, Ph.D., at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and Karen E. Duff, Ph.D., of Columbia University Medical Center in New York.


Each research group found that the Alzheimer's disease protein called tau can apparently spread from one part of the brain to other connected areas by effectively "jumping" from one nerve cell, neuron, to another.


The two research groups also made similar advances in how to study the development of the disease in mice, by making new "mouse models" that better represent the human form of Alzheimer's at later stages of the disease.


This will allow scientists to develop a much more detailed understanding of what goes awry with the spread of Alzheimer's disease over time, and what can be done to stop it.


The scientists' findings build on an idea studied by a number of others over the years - the idea that cells can infect neighbouring cells.


This concept, now significantly advanced by the work of Hyman and Duff, was previously pursued by several scientists including AHAF grantees Joanna Jankowsky, Ph.D., of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and Marc Diamond, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.


The study has will be published in the journal Neuro. (ANI)


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