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Lewy Body Journal: Our Family's Experience with Lewy Body Disease
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Alzheimer's Spread and its Implications for LBD

Researchers at Columbia University and separately at Massachusetts General Hospital recently made a discovery about how Alzheimer's disease spreads in the brain, and this discovery could have implications for Lewy body disease.

In Alzheimer's disease, a distorted protein known as tau develops in cells in a certain part of the brain. Later on, tau-filled cells appear in larger areas of the brain. Tau kills the affected brain cells. The researchers studied mice that were genetically modified to develop tau in one small part of the brain and observed the mice for almost 2 years to see how the tau spread. It was discovered that the tau spread from cell to cell, destroying the cells. This raises the possibility that a way could be found to stop the cell-to-cell transmission of the tau protein.

The researchers have raised the possibility that their finding could be relevant for other degenerative diseases. Both LBD and Parkinson's disease are caused by abnormal protein known as alpha-synuclein, which clumps into Lewy bodies. There may already be some evidence that this abnormal protein also spreads from cell to cell in Parkinson's patients.

The New York Times has a good article about the research. In February 2012, the team from Columbia published the full research article.

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