The Intersection

Research just published in Nature links Alzheimer’s disease and prion diseases. The prion protein is the receptor for amyloid-beta, the peptide that makes up Alzheimer’s plaques. It’s not my area, but Ed’s explanation is fascinating. This could be big, so go read the details at Not Exactly Rocket Science:

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in the world, affecting more than 26 million people. Creutzfeld-Jacob disease (CJD), another affliction is far less common, but both conditions share many of the same qualities. They are fatal within a few years of diagnosis, they are incurable and they involved the crippling degeneration of the brain’s neurons. Now, a group of Yale researchers have discovered that the two diseases are also linked by a pair of critical proteins.

Comments

  1. #1 Ashutosh
    February 25, 2009

    I haven’t read the full paper yet but it certainly sounds very interesting. On the other hand, the amyloid hypothesis of AD has come under scrutiny now. While amyloid Aß is certainly associated with AD, two recent major clinical trials that targeted Aß with drugs and antibodies failed to show any improvement in patients. While this could also be because AD is simply not diagnosable at an early stage yet, some scientists think we need to go back to the drawing board and take a look at the basics again. Another candidate that has sometimes been shown to correlate with disease burden is the Tau protein. The research continues. Meanwhile, you may be interested in the discovery of fish sex.

  2. #2 Ed Yong
    February 26, 2009

    Ah, but there’s also a link between the prion protein and Tau! It’s not a receptor, but it does seem to associate with it.

  3. #3 MarkH
    February 26, 2009

    The Virginia folks have been pushing a mitochondrial hypothesis for AD and PD for years, but I don’t think it’s catching on…

  4. #4 Anne
    March 9, 2009

    Experts tell us that routine exercise, activities, eating proper and so forth will reduce risks of Alzheimer disease. Experts have found that ALC, which is a supplement sold in Europe has proven to decrease risks of Alzheimer disease.

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