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Early Detection

Monkey model that mimics human Alzheimer's disease progression

29 May 2021

Early Detection

We often read about scientific discoveries that could in future lead to new treatments for incurable diseases – but how long, if successful, will that process take? To improve how well fundamental research translates from the lab to the clinic, neuroscientists developed a way of mimicking in rhesus macaque monkeys the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disease whose initial brain lesions can spread unnoticed for years before irreversible damage has been done and memory loss starts. Here, toxic tau proteins that accumulate in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients were visible in the macaque brain (orange) at early stages of disease progression. With this animal model that closely resembles human physiology, the team will be able to better understand the early-stage disease changes that take place in the brain, and potentially discover new insights on how damage can be slowed or reversed before the first cognitive symptoms manifest.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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