News FocusNeuroscience

New Leads on the 'How' of Alzheimer's

Science  21 Sep 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5538, pp. 2192-2194
DOI: 10.1126/science.293.5538.2192

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Although the idea is still controversial, evidence is mounting that triggers for Alzheimer's disease kill neurons by activating their internal cell-death programs. Working with a variety of experimental systems, including brain samples taken from patients at autopsy, researchers have found several signs that the cellular machinery involved in apoptosis has been activated in Alzheimer's. Not everyone agrees that nerve cells die this way in Alzheimer's, but if the findings are confirmed, they could provide new targets for drugs aimed at slowing the progression of Alzheimer's, or even preventing it.