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Understanding Alzheimer disease

The brains of Alzheimer disease patients have two unusual hallmarks: plaques and tangles. The tangles are accumulations of an altered form of a normal brain protein, tau, which clogs neurones, eventually killing them. Plaques are accumulations of an altered form of another brain protein, -amyloid, outside the brain cells. Scientists do not yet know why the altered -amyloid builds up in the brains of some people but not in others, as they age.

Tangles (below) and plaques (above).
Tangles (below) and plaques (above).
Simon Lovestone, Institute of Psychiatry, London

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