Health Alzheimer's: Disease spreads like infection in the brain

Alzheimer’s: Disease spreads like infection in the brain

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Alzheimer’s disease also includes memory disorders. A new study shows that the disease spreads like an infection in the brain.

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The incurable disease is very common worldwide: Now a new study shows: Alzheimer’s spreads like an infection in the brain.

  • Alzheimer is a widespread and extremely feared, incurable illness
  • Two incorrectly folded proteins are responsible for dementia
  • Researchers have now figured out how to Alzheimer in the brain common

Alzheimer is a widespread disease: 44 million people worldwide are said to have contracted it. Cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s is primarily responsible for two proteins that are also found in healthy people: Amyloid beta and dew, Amyloid beta proteins must be properly folded to do their job. With Alzheimer’s, that doesn’t really work proteins clump and deposit in the brain.

In Alzheimer’s, the tau proteins change chemically and are deposited in the form of fibers, the tau fibrils. This deposit is for the progression of dementiaapparently crucial. “The stronger the tau pathology, the more pronounced the clinical symptoms of the patient are, as a rule,” emphasizes Dr. Nicolai Franzmeier from the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at the Munich Clinic.

Alzheimer’s: Tau proteins spread like an infection in the brain

The clinical picture of Alzheimer’s includes, among other things, memory disorders, changes in personality, as well as orientation and language disorders, but also disorders of thinking and judgment.

Researchers at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich (LMU) have now found out how the tau proteins spread in the brain: They become connected via nerve cells – like an infectious disease or infection – passed on to other neurons at the synapses. The researchers then checked the results on Alzheimer’s patients, whose brains they examined using functional magnetic resonance imaging, among other things.

Alzheimer’s: Researchers want to individually predict the course of the disease

“In fact, the tau pathology spreads mainly along interconnected brain regions in the course of the disease”, Franzmeier explains the most important result of the study in a message from the clinic. The study was published in the specialist journal “Nature”. “This networking of the brain regions is central to mental performance. The prediction of the spread of tau in these networks could also prove to be important for predicting the future decrease in mental performance, ”explains the first author of the study, Professor Michael Ewers.

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The researchers want long-term models for individual prediction benefit from the spread of tau pathology. So could the course of the Alzheimer’s disease be better predicted for individual patients. Alzheimer’s can be very different depending on the patient. To date, there is no effective one therapy against the disease.

Alzheimer’s is not curable – disease should still be recognized early

Alzheimer’s is not curable, there is only the chance to maintain the status quo with medication longer in the early stages of the disease. The illness cannot be stopped permanently, however, damage in the brain cannot be repaired. That is why researchers are working on ways to detect Alzheimer’s early on * – preferably before the first symptoms, In addition, numerous active substances are tested against Alzheimer’s *.

Researchers have only recently found a new therapeutic approach: Apparently, a certain gene mutation can protect against Alzheimer’s *. Scientists are now trying to find out how they can use this new knowledge for themselves.

By Tanja Banner

* fr.de is part of the nationwide Ippen-Digital central editorial office.

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