13 December 2008

Team sheds light on Alzheimer's mystery

Work could lead to new treatments for debilitating disease
Massachusetts Institute of Technology: 10 December 2008
In work that could lead to new drugs to target Alzheimer's disease, MIT researchers and colleagues have shed light on one of the molecular mysteries surrounding this common form of dementia.

The work, to be reported in the Dec. 11 issue of Neuron, helps explain the perplexing behavior of some cells in the hippocampus, thought to be the center of learning and memory in the brain. In Alzheimer's disease, stroke and other neurodegenerative conditions, some neurons suddenly start to replicate their DNA as if they were about to divide. This causes them to die.

It is thought that most of the neurons within our brains have formed and exited the cell cycle during gestation and the early postnatal period. No one knows why this sudden reprisal of the cell cycle occurs in adult neurons in Alzheimer's patients. Now, researchers led by Li-Huei Tsai, the Picower Professor of Neuroscience, are starting to understand the events that precede the death of the cells…. > full story

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