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Protein Aggregates of Alzheimer's Disease Observed in Aged Dolphins

Protein Aggregates of Alzheimer's Disease Observed in Aged Dolphins

What can we learn from the observation that very few other mammalian species exhibit the protein aggregates associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the characteristic amyloid-β plaques and tau neurofibrillary tangles? There is debated evidence of amyloid in some primate species other than our own, and a study published earlier this year was the first to claim both amyloid and tau in old chimpanzee brains. Primates do not seem to suffer the widespread death of brain cells that occurs in humans, however, amyloid or no amyloid. In short-lived mammals such as rodents there is little sign of this sort of protein aggregation at all. When researchers are said to study Alzheimer’s disease in mice, they are in fact studying one of a number of very artificial biochemistries, genetically engineering lineages given conditions that resemble Alzheimer’s in some ways – but these conditions are not actually Alzheimer’s. Alongside the enormous complexity of the biochemistry involved, with mapping of the brain and the cell taking place alongside investigation into its failure with age, this artificiality of the mouse models, the fact they are so very different from human Alzheimer’s, is one of the reasons why there is a high rate of failure in moving