The Alzheimer's disease research community is in a great deal of flux at the moment. After a series of high-profile clinical trial failures, rages over whether the current causal hypothesis for the disease is correct. A new study has revealed novel insights into the early stages of the disease's development and suggests treatment may only be effective if delivered before a person becomes symptomatic.
For several decades the generally agreed hypothesis regarding the main symptomatic cause behind the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's disease was that the build-up of plaques, composed of a protein called beta-amyloid, resulted in the systematic destruction of neurons.
But the big problem that has arisen is that almost all efforts to target this amyloid build up, in one way or another, have failed. An astounding 99.6 percent of clinical trials into drugs to help beat Alzheimer's have failed.
Attempting to better explain why amyloid-targeting drugs are failing in trials, some scientists are beginning to suggest the disease in the subjects in these trials may have progressed too far to respond effectively.