The Zoomer Report: Alzheimer Spread

Here’s the latest in the war on Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers working in the lab with mice have found that it appears to spread through the brain, travelling from neuron to neuron in much the same way that an infection or cancer moves through the body.

The work indicates that abnormal tau protein — already identified in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s — starts in one region of the brain and spreads along linked cellular circuits.

The researchers at Columbia University’s Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain are excited about the identification of this tau pathway because it could influence the direction of future research and treatment, by providing a new set of targets for drugs.

They say one idea for a treatment would be to develop a therapeutic vaccine that could stop this process in its tracks early before dementia sets in.

As is usually the case, far more research is needed before this might yield any therapeutic benefit to people.

Photo © Alexander Raths

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Libby ZnaimerAbout The Zoomer Report
Libby Znaimer, a prominent Canadian journalist specializing in business, politics, and lifestyle issues, is producer and host of The Zoomer Report, a special feature on topics of interest to baby boomers and the 50+. It covers everything from health and wealth to leisure and volunteerism, from the special vantage point of the generation that has changed society in its wake.

Ms. Znaimer is also Vice-President of News and Information for Classical 96.3FM and AM740. Her first book, “In Cancerland – Living Well Is The Best Revenge” – was published in October 2007 by Key Porter.

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