Washington: A new study has revealed fundamental issues about Alzheimer's disease, including where it starts, why it starts there, and how it spreads.
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center have found that it begins specifically in the lateral entorhinal cortex, which is considered to be a gateway to the hippocampus, which plays a key role in the consolidation of long-term memory, among other functions.
The study has revealed that the LEC is especially vulnerable to Alzheimer's because it normally accumulates tau, which sensitizes the LEC to the accumulation of APP, and together, they damage neurons in the LEC, setting the stage for Alzheimer's.
The findings have also shown that the disease spreads from the LEC directly to other areas of the cerebral cortex, in particular, the parietal cortex, over time.
It could also improve early detection of the disease and gauge the effectiveness of the drugs.
The study was published today in the online edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience.