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Alzheimer's Disease Might Start in Our Bodies

lzheimer’s disease as we know it is impossible to prevent and nearly impossible to detect early—but what if we've been looking for the answers in the wrong place?

We associate Alzheimer’s with physical deterioration in the brain, but new research shows the nerve damage responsible for Alzheimer’s onset might actually originate outside the brain, as a cascade of breakdowns that begin elsewhere in the body. The findings could open a whole new pathway for research into the devastating degenerative neurological condition.

The brains of Alzheimer’s patients exhibit an excess of a protein called amyloid-beta, which coalesces into “plaques” that disrupt neurological function. Until now, scientists have generally believed that deposits of amyloid-beta found in the brain originate in the brain. But the protein can be synthesized in peripheral tissues anywhere in the body. Researchers just didn’t know what, if any, role this circulating amyloid-beta might play in the development of Alzheimer’s.

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