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All in the Family: Alois Alzheimer’s Second Patient Came from Extended Disease Pedigree

During his lifetime, Alois Alzheimer described five cases of the “characteristic sickness of the cerebral cortex” that his boss, the eminent psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin, later would name in honor of his late colleague. Now, neurologists in Alzheimer’s home state of Bavaria are investigating how these early patients’ family members fared. One patient, Johann F., turns out to have belonged to a large clan afflicted with an early-onset, heritable form of the disease. Many descendants still live in Bavaria, some in the U.S.

RNA Interference in Vivo—Viral Vectors Deliver

Viral vectors are an effective means to deliver small interfereing RNAs into target cells and organs in vivo, according to University of Iowa researchers. The authors demonstrated the therapeutic potential of this technique by inhibiting the expression, in neural cell lines, of eGFP chimeras that contained a polyglutamine (polyQ) tract.

Notch Pathway Implicated in Multiple Sclerosis

The Notch signaling pathway is of considerable interest to those studying Alzheimer's disease because the Notch receptor and the amyloid-β precursor protein (AβPP) are proteolytically processed much the same manner. Now the Notch pathway may contribute to the progression of another neurodegenerative disease, multiple sclerosis (MS)....

A Cell-Specific Death Program Claims Motoneurons

A specific apoptosis pathway is being advanced to account for the selective death of motorneurons in ALS. Also mysterious is what causes the selective neuronal death of cholinergic neurons in Alzheimer's and dopaminergic substantia nigra neurons in Parkinson's. Could this study point to new possible explanations?

Aging with the Right Memory Molecules

This week's issue of Nature features two articles that point to ways in which the targeting of molecules associated with maintenance of cognitive function might one day help boost these functions in both normal and demented older adults.

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