July 22

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What happens around an Alzheimer plaque?

The brains of people living with Alzheimer’s are riddled with plaques: protein aggregates consisting mainly of amyloid beta. Despite decades of research, the real contribution of these plaques to the disease process is still not clear. A research team led by Bart De Strooper and Mark Fiers at the VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research in Leuven, Belgium used pioneering technologies to study in detail what happens in brain cells in the direct vicinity of plaques. Their findings, published in the prestigious journal Cell, show how different cell types in the brain work together to mount a complex response to amyloid plaques which is likely protective at first, but later on damaging to the brain.

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