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Is Alzheimer’s disease similar to other brain disorders?

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Yes, that’s why the Mitchell Center studies not only Alzheimer’s disease, but related neuro-degenerative diseases as well. These are diseases that are chronic and degenerative; patients get worse and worse and then they die. Examples of these related diseases are Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s, and the prion diseases such as Mad Cow disease. In each disease, a protein changes shape and forms toxic deposits and so the process is the same. What’s not the same is that in each disease, it’s a different protein and it aggregates in a different part of the brain. For this reason, the symptoms of the diseases are different. For example, in Alzheimer’s disease, the area of the brain dealing with memory and cognition is affected. In Parkinson’s, the deposits destroy the area of the brain that controls skilled movements. So each disease is distinct, but they are all related and that is why it is so interesting to study them together. We can extrapolate what we learn from our work with ... more
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