Harmful deposits build up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients because the brain's aging blood vessels lose the ability to wash the deposits away, new research in mice suggests.
Alzheimer's, a fatal disease that steals memory and eventually leads to widespread neurological problems, affects about 4 million Americans. One in 20 people older than 65 have the disease. Scientists believe the condition stems from accumulation of a substance, called amyloid, in the brain.
In the latest issue of The Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers from six institutions report on studies of amyloid in young and old mice. The researchers injected amyloid into the mice's brains, then measured how long it stayed in the brain before being washed away. The older the mice, the longer it took for amyloid to leave the brain.