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Tau: Why Alzheimer’s Worsens Fast in Some, Slowly in Others

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-22 Research News Why do some people with AD slide rapidly into severe dementia, while others decline gradually over more than a decade? Part of the answer could come down to which biochemical forms of tau inhabit a person’s brain, suggests a study published ...

Does a Stimulating Childhood Stem Amyloid Plaques in Golden Years?

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-07-02 Research News A childhood rich with intellectual stimulation may help the brain resist the onslaught of Alzheimer’s disease decades later, according to a study published June 29 in JAMA Neurology. Researchers led by David Bennett at Rush University ...

Human Blood-Brain Barrier Model Blames Pericytes for CAA

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-15 Research News The full complexity of the blood-brain barrier, with its different cell types acting together, has been difficult to model in vitro. In the June 8 Nature Medicine, researchers led by Li-Huei Tsai at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, ...

Too Phatal: How Microglia, Astrocytes Snuff Out Dying Neurons

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-26 Research News Conventional wisdom holds that microglia are the main phagocytes of the brain, mopping up dead cells and debris. The reality is more complicated, according to scientists led by Jaime Grutzendler at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, ...

Widely Used Tau Seeding Assay Challenged

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-22 Research News Many research groups study tau misfolding and propagation using in vitro models, but interpreting findings from artificial systems can be dicey. In a preprint on bioRxiv, researchers led by Eckhard Mandelkow at the German Center for ...

GnomAD: Stunning Variation Seen in Largest Collection of Human Genomes

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-06-06 Research News In seven papers in Nature journals published May 27, the Genome Aggregation Database (gnomAD) consortium unleashed analyses of 125,748 exomes and 15,708 whole genomes, hailing from unrelated people living on six continents across the globe. ...

Blood-Brain Barrier Surprise: Proteins Flood into Young Brain

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-07-02 Research News The blood-brain barrier keeps most plasma proteins out of the brain, but becomes leaky with age and in Alzheimer’s. Or so scientists thought. In the July 1 Nature, researchers led by Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford University turn this idea on ...

γ-Secretase Spotted Traveling Solo or in Pairs, Not in Big Groups

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-07-10 Research News CryoEM of frozen membranes has revealed its most intimate folds. Biochemistry of tissue extracts says it bundles up with other secretases. But how does γ-secretase, the all-important enzyme that cleaves Aβ42 from its precursor, truly behave ...

Could Tau PET Replace Amyloid Biomarkers as a Diagnostic for AD?

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-15 Research News The particular type of tangle found in Alzheimer’s is unique to this disease, making tau PET a highly specific marker. In the May 11 JAMA Neurology, researchers led by Oskar Hansson at Skåne University Hospital in Malmö, Sweden, reinforce ...

Gut Microbes: The Difference Between Life and Death in C9ORF72 Mice

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-15 Research News When Kevin Eggan of Harvard University decided to raise some C9ORF72-deficient mice down the road at MIT’s Broad Institute, he had little inkling of the can of worms—or microbes—that he was about to open. At Harvard, the C9-deficient mice ...

Molecular Transport Vehicle Shuttles Therapies into Brain

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-05-29 Research News Researchers have devised a new way to sneak therapeutic cargo across the blood-brain barrier. Into the constant region of a human IgG1 antibody, they slid a domain that latches onto receptors that carry transferrin into the brain. On the ...

In the Wake of COVID-19: Trials Interrupted, Delayed, Cancelled

COMMUNITY NEWS 2020-06-23 Community News Part 2 of 2 As Alzheimer’s research comes to, scientists are taking stock of the damage. In the academic world, the main cost was time (see Part 1  of this story). For most clinical studies, the damage was more tangible, with at least a ...

Women and Men Differ in Their Genetic Risk for Alzheimer’s Progression

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-07-02 Research News Researchers are beginning to assess how genetic variation influences sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease. True, women who have an ApoE4 allele are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s than are male carriers, but what about the many other ...

Does Huntington’s Disease Begin in the Womb?

RESEARCH NEWS 2020-07-17 Research News Huntington’s disease, like most neurodegenerative conditions, strikes adults. Yet children who carry the infamous causative triple repeat expansion have slightly smaller brains than noncarriers even while they are as functional as their ...

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