Protein linked to Alzheimer's - Albuquerque Journal

Protein linked to Alzheimer’s

These cross sections show the difference between the normal brain and one damaged by Alzheimer's disease. Scientists have linked a new ;protein to Alzheimer's disease.  (The Associated Press)
These cross sections show the difference between the normal brain and one damaged by Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists have linked a new protein to Alzheimer’s disease. (The Associated Press)

Scientists have linked a new protein to Alzheimer’s disease, different from the amyloid and tau that make up the sticky brain plaques and tangles long known to be its hallmarks.

The discovery could give a new target for developing drugs and other treatments for Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia. It also might help explain why many people have plaques and tangles in their brain yet show no symptoms of the disease. Autopsies on 342 brains revealed that people who had the new protein were 10 times more likely to have been mentally impaired when they died than those without it.

The study was discussed Wednesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen, where researchers also described a new type of brain imaging that can show tau tangles in living people for the first time.

For many years, the only sure way to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease was after death, when brains could be examined for amyloid and tau. Several companies now make imaging agents that can reveal amyloid on brain scans, and the new research shows an experimental product from Eli Lilly & Co. can do the same for tau.

“I think it will transform the field” because tau correlates better with symptoms than amyloid does, said Dr. Clifford Jack, a Mayo Clinic dementia expert with no role in that work.

“This is very important,” agreed Laurie Ryan of the National Institute on Aging, which funded both studies. It should help diagnose Alzheimer’s and enroll people in studies testing treatments, she said.

Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital described the tau work. Scans on 56 older people believed to be cognitively normal showed that tau buildup in several brain regions correlated with memory decline.

Dr. Keith Josephs of the Mayo Clinic led work on the new brain protein, called TDP-43. Everyone has it, but the abnormal form is found in different parts of the cell and in ball-like deposits in certain areas in the brain. It’s already been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease, and frontotemporal dementia.

Researchers looked for it in brain samples from 342 people in a study of aging at Mayo. All had amyloid plaques in the brain but many showed no dementia symptoms before they died.

Of the 342 participants, 195, or 57 percent, had the abnormal protein. Less than 5 percent of the healthy general population would be expected to have it.

Of those with the protein, 98 percent had dementia symptoms at the time of their death, versus only 81 percent of those without the protein.

Home » News » Nation » Protein linked to Alzheimer’s


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Gas prices dip just below $4 for the first ...
Nation
Gasoline prices have dipped under $4 ... Gasoline prices have dipped under $4 for the first time in more than five months -- good news for consumers who are struggling with ...
2
Stocks close mixed after new signs of cooling inflation
Nation
An afternoon pullback left stock indexes ... An afternoon pullback left stock indexes on Wall Street with a mixed finish Thursday, erasing most of their gains from a morning rally over ...
3
Jury can't reach verdict in engineers' Flint water trial
Nation
A judge declared a mistrial Thursday ... A judge declared a mistrial Thursday after jurors said they couldn't reach a unanimous verdict in a dispute over whether two engineering firms should ...
4
EXPLAINER: How is inflation affecting commuting costs?
Most Recent Biz News
Gas prices have fallen from the ... Gas prices have fallen from the record highs they reached earlier this summer, but they're still much higher than a year ago. And with ...
5
US wholesale inflation fell in July for 1st time ...
Nation
Prices at the wholesale level fell ... Prices at the wholesale level fell from June to July, the first month-to-month drop in more than two years and a sign that some ...
6
Life gradually returns a year after fire chars Sierra ...
Nation
The flames fade away. Firefighters extinguish ... The flames fade away. Firefighters extinguish the last embers. A final curl of smoke uncoils in the wind. A wildfire in the California wilderness ...
7
Deputy coroner: House explosion in southern Indiana kills 3
Nation
Three people were killed Wednesday when ... Three people were killed Wednesday when a house exploded in the southern Indiana city of Evansville, authorities said. David Anson, chief deputy coroner for ...
8
US unemployment claims rise by 14,000 to 262,000
Nation
The number of Americans who signed ... The number of Americans who signed up for unemployment benefits rose last week to the highest level since November, though the U.S. job market ...
9
Iranian operative charged in plot to murder John Bolton
Nation
An Iranian operative has been charged ... An Iranian operative has been charged in a plot to murder former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton in presumed retaliation for a U.S. ...