Karen Weintraub, Special for USA TODAY 7:28 a.m. EDT May 27, 2016
Researchers at Harvard this week offered a new theory of Alzheimer’s Disease that – if true – would upend our understanding of the disease and suggest new routes for treatment and prevention.
The researchers think that the immune system may play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s, which slowly robs people of their memory and is eventually fatal.
A protein called beta amyloid, long considered the bad actor in Alzheimer’s, actually plays a positive role in fighting off bacteria and fungus in mice, worms and cells, the researchers showed in a new paper in Science Translational Medicine.
Assuming that’s also true in people, it suggests that getting rid of amyloid, as some drug trials have tried, could be dangerous, and approaches that stimulate the immune system could be safer and more effective…