Alzheimer’s research may have been misguided for 16 years

A widely accepted hypothesis for the etiology of Alzheimer’s disease is the amyloid hypothesis , which suggests that the accumulation of amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brain may be the underlying cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Key support for this hypothesis was provided in a 2006 Nature paper by first author Sylvain Lesné (Nature had warned of its problems), in which Lesné and colleagues identified an Aβ isoform (Aβ*56 ) may induce dementia in mice. Much of the NIH’s investment in Alzheimer’s research has been directed at amyloids, amounting to $1.6 billion this year alone. But what if the famous 2006 paper was wrong and allegedly deceived? Then the direction of Alzheimer’s research may have been misguided for 16 years . After experimental drugs to clear amyloid plaques were found to be ineffective, the researchers then proposed an alternative explanation: Aβ oligomers that do not form large amyloid plaques are believed to be the predominant pathogenic form.

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