The Unknowns of Alzheimer’s Disease
There is still much we don’t know about Alzheimer’s disease. For instance, amyloid, a protein naturally manufactured by the body in small quantities, is found in autopsies of those who die of Alzheimer’s as a sticky plaque in the brain. While evidence suggests amyloid does contribute to cognitive decline, its mere presence does not trigger the onset of Alzheimer’s. In addition, there is still some ambiguity about how the protein moves between cells.
Alexandra Sifferlin, of Time, reports that experts are fairly certain that Alzheimer’s patients cannot infect others, even in the case of transplants. However, amyloid certainly plays a role in the development of the disease and by removing the protein, scientists have successfully improved the cognitive function of mice.
Each study conducted seemingly gives us a better understanding of how Alzheimer’s attacks the brain and how it can be slowed, but there is still much work to be done.