'Rogue' Protein Spread Key to Alzheimer's
Discovery casts light on tangles found in brains of disease sufferers
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jun 8, 2009 8:29 AM CDT
The Tau protein is found in all nerve cells.   (Shutterstock)
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(Newser) – A protein linked to Alzheimer’s can run amok in the brain, affecting healthy tissue, scientists have found. All nerve cells contain the tau protein, but a “rogue form” can lead to protein clumps in cells, called neurofibrillary tangles, that are believed to play a major role in Alzheimer’s disease, the BBC reports. The protein can spread, but that doesn’t mean the disease is contagious.

“This greater understanding of how tangles spread in Alzheimer's may lead to new ways of stopping them and defeating the disease,” said an expert.