Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. This degenerative disease strikes the parts of the brain that controls memory, thought and language. Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and more than 5 million Americans are living with the disease. There is no cure.

The biggest risk factor for the disease is age. Most patients see symptoms start after age 60. While some cases may be inherited, most cases appear to be “spontaneous.” By studying the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, researchers have found that patients suffer from abnormal “plaques” of beta-amyloid proteins clustered around nerve cells. These brains also show tangled strands of proteins in dead and dying nerve cells. Over time, the connections break between nerve cells, and the brain shrinks.

Developing Alzheimer’s treatments will depend on a better understanding of what causes the disease in the first place.


Jul 2, 2020
Sette Lab

Alessandro Sette, Dr. Biol. Sci., defines in chemical terms the specific structures (epitopes) that the immune system recognizes and uses this knowledge to measure and understand immune responses.

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Alessandro Sette, Dr.Biol.Sci.
Center for Autoimmunity and Inflammation, Center for Infectious Disease and Vaccine Research