Changes in the brains white matter may play a major role in the onset of Alzheimers disease, whose baffling origin has traditionally been blamed on the gray matter. The new findings could provide a fresh direction for Alzheimers research in this neglected part of the brain, offering the potential for early diagnosis and enhanced therapies.
The results are reported in the Sept. 17 print edition of Biochemistry, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Chemical Society, the worlds largest scientific society.
"Alzheimers disease is conventionally considered a disease of the brain gray matter because its most prominent consequence is severe memory loss," says Alex Roher, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Ariz., and lead author of the paper. The overwhelming majority of Alzheimers research has focused on gray matter, despite the fact that white matter makes up about 50 percent of total brain tissue and is substantially altered during Alzheimers progression, Roher says.
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