Alzheimer’s disease, other conditions linked to prion-like proteins

A new theory about disorders that attack the brain and spinal column has received a significant boost from scientists at the School of Medicine. The theory links these conditions to corrupted proteins known as prions, which appear bright green in this image of brain cells from a patient with Alzheimer’s disease.

Antidepressant may slow Alzheimer’s disease

Antidepressants can reduce production of the main ingredient of Alzheimer’s brain plaques, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania. The plaques are highlighted in red in this image of a mouse’s brain.

Brain cell activity regulates Alzheimer’s protein​

Increased brain cell activity boosts brain fluid levels of a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease, according to new research from scientists at the School of Medicine. Senior author David M. Holtzman, MD, said the findings should help advance efforts to treat Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders associated with the tau protein.​

Rare gene variants double risk for Alzheimer’s disease

A team led by researchers at the School of Medicine has identified variations in a gene that double a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life. Pictured are Carlos Cruchaga, PhD (left), and Alison M. Goate, DPhil, who led the research effort.

Broken cellular ‘clock’ linked to brain damage

A new discovery may help explain the surprisingly strong connections between sleep problems and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. Loss of a gene that helps keep track of time makes brain cells more vulnerable to damage from dangerous compounds known as free radicals.