No Alzheimer's in Other Primates

Researchers have uncovered a difference that may explain why other primates don't suffer from Alzheimer's disease; it remains to be seen what can be done with this information. Via Yahoo! News: "Humans get the devastating neurological disorder known as Alzheimer's disease, but their closest evolutionary cousins don't. Even more inexplicable is the fact that chimpanzee and other non-human primate brains do get clogged with the same protein plaques that are believed by many to cause the disease in humans. ... a 'tag' molecule used to track plaque build-up latches easily onto plaques in human brains but not in those of apes and monkeys, suggesting that there is a basic structural difference between the two types of plaque. Figuring out the difference, they said, could lead to ways to render human amyloid plaques as harmless in human brains as they are in the brains of other primates. ... This is another finding of unknown significance, but it is a finding. None of us know why these higher primates don't get Alzheimer's disease, but we don't [fully understand the mechanisms that lead to human] Alzheimer's disease either. Where it leads us, I don't know."


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