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20

Aug

2018

20

Aug

2018

The Synapses of Some Individuals Appear Resilient to Age-Related Protein Aggregation

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We all, to some degree, accumulate harmful protein aggregates in the brain with age, but only some people develop severe neurodegenerative disease as a result. The rest of the population remains mildly impaired. Why is this? Some have suggested that Alzheimer’s disease and the like are to some degree lifestyle conditions, aggravated by the presence of excess visceral fat tissue and the abnormal metabolism that results. Alternatively the microbial hypothesis suggests that only some people have sufficient persistent infection by herpesviruses or lyme spirochetes to result in high levels of protein aggregates. Theories of impaired cerebrospinal fluid drainage point to differing levels of structural failure in fluid channels leading from the brain. Researchers here propose another mechanism, in that some people have synapses that are resilient to the harms inflicted by tau aggregation, thought to be the most damaging mechanism in late stage Alzheimer’s disease.

People suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) develop a buildup of two proteins that impair communications between nerve cells in the brain – plaques made of amyloid beta proteins and neurofibrillary tangles made of tau proteins. Intriguingly,

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