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CJD linked with Alzheimer's proteins

CJD linked with Alzheimer's proteins
27th February 2009

Recent research carried out by scientists at Yale University in the US has discovered a notable link between Alzheimer's proteins and mad cow disease, also known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

The prion protein, which is associated with the causes of CJD, is normally used in the brain to maintain brain health but can contribute to nerve damage should it get tangled up with amyloid-beta, another protein known as the chief suspect of causing Alzheimer's disease.

Stephen M Strittmatter, the senior author of the study and the Vincent Coates professor of neurology and director of cellular neuroscience, neurodegeneration and repair at Yale, said the discovery was somewhat of a "black box".

He continued: "We have known that amyloid-beta is bad for the brain but we have not known exactly how amyloid-beta does bad things to neurons.

"They start the cascades that make neurons sick."

Earlier this month, the hard work of scientists at the University of Aberdeen was recognised after Maersk Oil North Sea injected £10,000 to fund the establishment's Alzheimer's disease research.

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