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What Doctors Don't Tell You

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August 2018 (Vol. 3 Issue 6)

Alzheimer's probably not caused by brain plaques, says new research chief
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Alzheimer's probably not caused by brain plaques, says new research chief image

Medicine has got it wrong about Alzheimer's disease for the past 40 years, the UK's new head of dementia research says. It's far more complex a disease than the idea it's solely caused by plaques in the brain.

It's as likely to be caused by inflammation—a process that's increasingly being recognised as a cause of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers—says Bart De Strooper, the head of the recently-established Dementia Research Institute.

He published a research paper last year that questioned the standard view that Alzheimer's is caused by two 'deformed' proteins in the brain, amyloid and tau. Drugs research has centred on eliminating the two proteins, but existing drugs have had limited success in countering the disease, and hopes of a cure were dashed last year when two potential block-buster drugs—Merck's verubecestat and Eli Lilly's solanezumab—both failed at the test stage.

He argues that the "amyloid hypothesis", as it's known, is far too simplistic, and that many other factors are at play, including the possibility that Alzheimer's and dementia could be the result of inflammation.


References

(Source: Sunday Times, February 26th, 2017)

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