Alzheimer's disease may originate in a similar form to the infectious prion disease, according to new research.
The University of Texas Health Science Centre has published a study showing a potentially infectious spreading of Alzheimer's in animal models.
"Our findings open the possibility that some of the sporadic Alzheimer's cases may arise from an infectious process, which occurs with other neurological diseases such as mad cow and its human form, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease," stated Claudio Soto, Ph.D., professor of neurology at the University of Texas.
Professor Soto explained that the mechanism of Alzheimer's disease is "very similar" to that of prion diseases. It starts as a normal protein that becomes misshapen and is able to spread by transforming normal proteins into "bad ones".
Alzheimer's in the most common cause of dementia, with a reported 465,000 people with the disease in the UK.
As Alzheimer's progresses, protein plaques and tangles develop in the brain and cause brain cells to die.
Symptoms of Alzheimer's disease include loss of memory, mood changes, and problems with communication and reasoning.
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