Scientists find new cause of Alzheimer's

April 19, 2006

Belgium researchers say they are the first to demonstrate the quantity of amyloid protein in brain cells is a major factor of Alzheimer's disease.

Amyloid protein has already been known to be the primary component of senile plaques in the brains of patients. The researchers say their discovery demonstrates the greater the quantity of the protein, the younger the dementia patient is.

Alzheimer's disease is a memory disorder that affects up to 70 percent of all dementia patients. In Belgium, about 100,000 people suffer from the disease that gradually destroys brain cells responsible for memory and knowledge.

Ever since the disease was reported by Alois Alzheimer 100 years ago scientists have been searching for ways to treat it.

The Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology scientists affiliated with the University of Antwerp say their findings lead to a new understanding: the quantity of the amyloid precursor protein, and thus of the amyloid protein, in brain cells contributes significantly to the risk of contracting Alzheimer's.

They said that discovery will have to be taken into account in diagnostic tests and in the search for new medicines.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Navy researchers recruit luminescent nanoparticles to image brain function

Related Stories

Sensory illusion causes cells to self-destruct

November 19, 2015

Magic tricks work because they take advantage of the brain's sensory assumptions, tricking audiences into seeing phantoms or overlooking sleights of hand. Now a team of UC San Francisco researchers has discovered that even ...

Making heads and tails of embryo development

October 27, 2015

Proteins usually responsible for the destruction of virally infected or cancerous cells in our immune system have been found to control the release from cells of a critical growth factor governing head and tail development ...

Cells starved of oxygen and nutrients condense their DNA

November 9, 2015

Scientists at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) have been able to see, for the first time, the dramatic changes that occur in the DNA of cells that are starved of oxygen and nutrients. This starved state is typical ...

Recommended for you

Physicists develop new technique to fathom 'smart' materials

November 26, 2015

Physicists from the FOM Foundation and Leiden University have found a way to better understand the properties of manmade 'smart' materials. Their method reveals how stacked layers in such a material work together to bring ...

Nevada researchers trying to turn roadside weed into biofuel

November 26, 2015

Three decades ago, a University of Nevada researcher who obtained one of the first U.S. Energy Department grants to study the potential to turn plants into biofuels became convinced that a roadside weed—curly top gumweed—was ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.