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Targeting Aß oligomers: a molecular basis for the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease
Published on February 5, 2014 68 min
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This is Bill Klein at Northwestern University's Department of Neurobiology and the NU Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. I'd like to help you get started in your investigations of Abeta oligomers. This is a truly exciting topic because it has the potential for giving us a molecular basis for the cause, diagnosis, and treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Before we get deep into Abeta oligomers, I'd like to take a few minutes by going to the beginning and start where we should.
You might recognize this famous photo of Auguste D. She was the first person to be diagnosed with what is now called Alzheimer's disease. Auguste D. came under Alzheimer's care in 1901 at the age of 51. At this young age, she was already showing severe dementia, including greatly reduced memory loss. Within five years, only in her mid-'50s, Auguste D. was dead. Alzheimer was an investigator as well as a clinician, and he examined Auguste D.'s brain. He had available to him new stains and new methods. And what he discovered was that Auguste D.'s brain was riddled with lesions. Those lesions are illustrated on the right, and they're of two sorts. The two figures on the top illustrate amyloid plaques. These are extracellular deposits about the size of three or four neurons across. At higher magnification, as shown on the bottom, Alzheimer discovered neurofibrillary tangles. These are intracellular deposits, and they accumulate in diseased neurons. It is this combination of dementia, plaques, and tangles that now defines the disease. Alzheimer's is referred to as dementia with plaques and tangles. The fact that Auguste D. was so young set the stage for the belief that this is a disease of younger people only. And it was referred to for a long time as presenile dementia of the Alzheimer's type. Neurologists used to be taught that Alzheimer's disease only occurs in individuals under the age of 65, that it is extremely rare, and that in most circumstances, a neurologist would never find one as a patient.