Newspaper article International New York Times

New Clues to Alzheimer's

Newspaper article International New York Times

New Clues to Alzheimer's

Article excerpt

Intriguing research may point the way forward on treatment.

Two studies of Alzheimer's disease published in respected scientific journals this month offered glimmers of hope for progress against this devastating neurological disorder. Neither advance is guaranteed to produce important clinical benefits anytime soon, but they may point the way toward new pathways to treat and diagnose a condition that impairs the thinking and memories of its victims and ultimately kills many of them.

One promising study, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, was published online Wednesday in the journal Nature. It identified a protein that typically increases in old age and appears to protect brain cells from dying. In patients who develop Alzheimer's, the protein, called REST, is in short supply and out of position. In patients who have yet to suffer cognitive losses, the protective protein is still present and in the right spot (the nucleus of a neuron) to be effective even if those patients have the brain tangles and plaques long associated with Alzheimer's. …

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