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New Hope for Fading Memories: Alzheimer's Disease

Author(s): Ronald McNeel DrPH

Formation of Beta Amyloid Plaques

Amyloid precursor protein (APP) may help neurons to repair and grow after brain injury. APP is a transmembrane protein (part outside and part inside the cell). In Alzheimer's Disease (AD), enzymes cut APP into pieces. One of these pieces is called beta amyloid protein. Beta amyloid proteins clump together outside the cell and form insoluble plaques, which develop in areas of the brain that encode memories and are used in the decision process. It is still not known whether the plaques cause AD, or whether they are a product of the AD disease process.