The University of Minnesota said Wednesday that scientists have established a firm relationship between a protein known as tau and Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of elderly dementia in the United States.
In a study published in the journal Neuron, researchers say that an early buildup of tau in the dendritic spines, a region of the brain responsible for electrochemical stimulation, can cause memory loss by disrupting communications between brain cells.
Tau has long been considered an early biomarker for the onset of Alzheimer's. By forging a direct link between tau and a specific brain area and function, researchers could possibly design ways to treat Alzheimer's before it significantly damages the brain.
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