Healthy Living

7 More Reasons to Have Hope in Finding a Cure for Alzheimer's

4. Continued progress on the tau-amyloid connection

A lot of publications have profiled Dr. Claude Wischik, a famous and accomplished researcher who has spent the last three decades completely entrenched in the fight to cure Alzheimer’s. Whereas a lot of the research prior to Dr. Wischik’s work has been focused on the amyloid protein, Dr. Wischik has been focused on researching important research efforts on the tau protein. Wischik believes that the tau protein, or the twisted brain fibers that resemble tangles or knots that are found in Alzheimer’s patients, is the disease’s major villain. Tau protein and amyloid proteins have both been understood to be causes of the disease, although there are two main camps of thought, both of which disagree on which protein is the primary culprit.

Recent findings show that there are more indications that point to the tau protein as a key player in memory loss. Science Magazine recently wrote, “although this evidence won’t resolve the amyloid-tau debate, the finding could spur more research into new, tau-targeting treatments and lead to better diagnostic tools.”

Additionally, while previous studies hypothesized that the two proteins existed in totally different brain regions, more recent studies show the early-stage presence of both proteins in the same region of the brain. “This study shows the specific forms of tau and amyloid appear early in the disease process in the same brain region, before plaques and tangles are formed,” explained Professor Bettina Platt, who is the Chair in Transnational Neuroscience at the University of Aberdeen. “Understanding which forms of tau and amyloid drive the early stages of Alzheimer’s will allow scientists to design drugs to target these specific forms and find new ways to accurately diagnose people.”