Could virus-like proteins be causing Alzheimer’s?

Could virus-like proteins be causing Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s has been a puzzle for a long
time. You see, inside the brains of patients with the disease are two types of abnormally
folded proteins—but no one knows which one’s responsible for the devastating symptoms. One is the build-up of amyloid into plaques.
And the other is what we call tangles that accumulate inside the nerve cells. Tangles are composed of a protein called tau.
Think of tau as part of the cell’s architecture, which helps stabilize neurons and allows them
to communicate. Yet, in Alzheimer’s disease, tau clumps into toxic tangles, and neurons
die. For a long time, it wasn’t clear if the
amyloid or tau were responsible for Alzheimer’s disease. Because both of them are hallmarks
for the disease, so which is cause and which is effect? And for a long, long time, amyloid
looked like the culprit. Other types of dementia—like a disease called
PSP—started providing clues about Alzheimer’s, by turning the focus on tau. PSP is caused by tau. Every symptom that a
patient gets with PSP is driven by where tau deposits in the brain. So suddenly we could
give meaning to the tauprotein. We learned that if you have abnormal tau, you will get
sick. You will get sick with 100% certainty. The implications were huge. Tangles—not
plaques—may be what’s responsible for ravaging the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s.
Abnormal tau, even without amyloid, could be deadly. But how does it wreak its havoc? In a stunning
experiment, Marc Diamond exposed healthy cells to corrupted tau, and then used an electron
microscope to see what happened. So here’s a picture of these large accumulations
of tau, sort of attacking the cell surface. And the cell has actually started to rearrange
itself to capture them. And what we saw was remarkable. The normal
form of the tau within a day or so converted to the abnormal form inside the cell. The bad tau then escaped and invaded a neighboring
cell, just like a pathogen. Its spread from neuron to neuron finally explained tau diseases,
including Alzheimer’s. All of a sudden, we have a totally new way
of thinking about how to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Abnormal tau is the target. We’ve
gotta get rid of the tau. And by comparing amyloid and tau scans in
the same person, one thing is quite clear. In Alzheimer’s disease, people don’t get
tangles spreading throughout their brain unless they have amyloid. So currently we think that
amyloid pulls the trigger and tau is the bullet that unfortunately kills the nerve cells. If you want to treat a patient who has Alzheimer’s
disease right now, you have to treat the tangles. You had to treat the amyloid ten years before.
If you’re suffering from this disease right now, you have to hit the tangles. The tangles
are killing the nerve cells. To stop the spread of tangles, David Holtzman
has developed a drug, or antibody, to target tau as it moves between neurons. And he’s
tested it in mice. These mice develop tau pathology starting
at, let’s say, about five months of age. So we gave the antibody from six months of
age, all the way to nine months of age, a point at which we knew all the animals would
have a lot of tau pathology in their brain. The initial results were unbelievable. It
was obvious to anyone looking at the mouse’s brains that in one group the pathology was
much less than in the other.Look at the treated mouse on the left, compared
to the untreated mouse, which has a hard time moving as the tangles attack its brain.If Holtzman’s drug can stop the spread of
tau, it might just help in the development of a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease as
well.One step at a time, though. First, the drug
has to be tested in human patients.

5 thoughts on “Could virus-like proteins be causing Alzheimer’s?

  1. I consider animal testing cruel, I'm sure there would be plenty of people who suffer an illness that would be willing to volunteer themselves in looking for a cure or treatment to delay symptoms.

  2. Dr. Alan B. MacDonald discovered the Lyme spirochete was the cause of Alzheimer's back in 1985 – apparently, no one cared to listen:

  3. Alzheimer's shows that there is an intelligence behind this disease. Intelligence is a 100% indicator that we are dealing with a virus, a living being. For many years Alzheimer's keeps the life-sustaining functions intact. Everything that is required to keep the body going works fine. Alzheimer's only attacks this part of the brain which enables memory. An estimated 5.8 million Americans of all ages are living with Alzheimer's dementia in 2019. Of course, the elite wants to stop population growth, wants to shrink the population from 7bn to 1bn. This could be among other things the reason why nothing happens. Same with cancer, diabetes, Parkinson's.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *