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Protein tweak may trigger Alzheimer’s

Unusual version of disease-linked amyloid-beta sows destruction in mouse brains

By
4:30pm, May 2, 2012

Scientists have caught tiny amounts of a strangely shaped protein — a relative of a well-known suspect in Alzheimer’s disease — spreading destruction throughout the brains of mice. If a similar process happens in the human brain, it could help explain how Alzheimer’s starts, and even suggest new ways to stop the dangerous molecule’s spread.

Many Alzheimer’s researchers believe the abundance of a molecule called A-beta in the brain is one of the key steps in developing the disease. A-beta commonly takes the form of a chain of 42 protein building blocks called amino acids.

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