New brain protein tied to Alzheimer's disease

Scientists have linked a new protein to Alzheimer's disease. It is different from the amyloid plaques and tau tangles that long have been considered hallmarks of this form of dementia.

The discovery could give a new target for developing drugs and other treatments for Alzheimer's. It might also help explain why many people have plaques and tangles in their brain yet show no symptoms of the disease.

Researchers studied 342 people who donated their brains upon death to the Mayo Clinic. Those who had the protein were 10 times more likely to have been mentally impaired when they died than those without it.

The study was discussed Wednesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen.

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