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Distinct stages of Alzheimer's disease identified

Distinct stages of Alzheimer's disease identified
20th April 2012

Researchers believe that they have identified distinct stages in Alzheimer's disease and the specific order of time in which they occur.

Using a mouse model of the condition, neuroscientists in Munich monitored the effect of differences in soluble and plague-forming beta-amyloid - one of the proteins implicated in Alzheimer's disease.

It was found that both forms of beta-amyloid caused the dysfunctional developments associated with the condition, including damage to individual cortical neurons, neuronal circuits, sensory cognition and behaviour.

Taken together, the changes that occur in the brain through the formulation of beta-amyloid can be used to map the stages of Alzheimer's disease.

Professor Arthur Konnerth, team leader on the study, commented: "Alzheimer's disease-related changes on all levels – including behaviour, cortical circuit dysfunction, and the density of amyloid plaques in diseased brains – progress in parallel in a distinct temporal order."

This could prove vital for future treatment strategies, by allowing doctors to better target their medication and care.

It may also help researchers pin point the time at which intervention can have the most success.

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