Since the discovery of Alzheimer’s disease over a century ago, two hallmarks of the devastating illness have taken center stage.
The first, known as amyloid plaques, are dense accumulations of misfolded amyloid protein, occurring in the spaces between nerve cells. Most efforts to halt the advance of Alzheimer’s disease have targeted amyloid protein plaques. To date, all have met dispiriting failure.
The second classic trait has, until recently, received less scrutiny. It consists of string-like formations within the bodies of neurons, produced by another crucial protein– tau. These are known as neurofibrillary tangles.