cell biology

Alzheimer’s disease: have we got the cause all wrong?

Alzheimer’s disease: have we got the cause all wrong?

Early in the 20th century, Alois Alzheimer first described a disorder of progressive memory loss and confusion in a 50-year-old woman. After she died, he examined her brain and saw that it was full of unusual protein clumps, known as plaques. Over a century later, we know that these plaques are full of a protein called beta-amyloid and are a hallmark of the disease that bears Alzheimer’s name. While other features of Alzheimer’s disease have been discovered, the theory that beta-amyloid is the main cause of this incurable disease has dominated.