Harmful Tau Protein Shows Up in One Brain Area, Then Spreads, Study Reports

Harmful Tau Protein Shows Up in One Brain Area, Then Spreads, Study Reports
The harmful tau protein associated with Alzheimer's appears in one place in the brain, then spreads, rather than showing up in several places independently, new imaging techniques show. This finding suggests that preventing tau from spreading may be a good way of stopping the progression of the disease, a University of Cambridge research team said. Tau kills nerve cells and damages their connections. Another finding was that tau build-ups damage the wiring in the brain, leading to fewer connections between nerve cells. This may underlie the confusion and fading of memories in Alzheimer's patients, researchers said. The study, “Tau burden and the functional connectome in Alzheimer’s disease and progressive supranuclear palsy,” appeared in the journal Brain. Tau is one of two proteins whose build-up in nerve cells drives the progression of Alzheimer's. The other is amyloid beta and tau. Scientists believe amyloid beta accumulates first, paving the way for the accumulation and spread of tau. Tau is responsible for the most detrimental symptoms of Alzheimer's — cognition and memory loss. Researchers have used mouse models that mimic Alzheimer's to understand the mechanisms of the disease. But until now, researchers have been able to study its mechanisms in humans only by examining the brain tissue of people who died. New developments in positron emission tomography scanning are finally allowing researchers to look at tau in the brains of living patients. Injecting patients with a radioactive ligand that binds to tau makes the protein visible in a PET scanner. The Cambridge scientists used a com
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One comment

  1. Virginia Johnson says:

    more support groups for early stage ALZ. we need to talk to each other about all the different feelings and things we are going through. care givers that come can go into a different support group at the same time. some of us don’t have caregivers yet, as we do not need them at this stage.

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