Alzheimer’s and Amyloid Diseases: Explore Amyloids

Learn about Alzheimer’s symptoms and what Alzheimer’s has in common with Mad Cow and Parkinson’s disease at The Emergent Universe, an online interactive science museum about emergence.

Human Face of Fibril Diseases

What do Ronald Reagan, Normal Rockwell, Rosa Parks, Woody Guthrie, Rita Hayworth, and Mao Tse Tung have in common?

They all died from an amyloid disease. These diseases, which include Alzheimer’s, Mad Cow, Huntington’s, Lou Gehrig’s, and Parkinson’s diseases, as well as Type II Diabetes, all involve the formation of protein aggregates called amyloid fibrils. In afflicted individuals, proteins that normally reside in our bodies spontaneously self-organize into fibrous aggregates. It is this emergent phenomena of protein self-organization, then, that unifies this diverse set of diseases and which may assist us in finding a cure.

We focus here on Alzheimer’s because it is by far the most prevalent of the neurological amyloid diseases.

Resources

Alzheimer’s Resources

Alzheimer’s Disease International provides links for Alzheimer’s organizations in many countries: http://www.alz.co.uk/help/associations.html

The Alzheimer’s Association website is extensive, with everything from current medical information to caretaking advice, local resource information, statistics, personal stories and more: http://www.alz.org/index.asp

The National Institute on Aging’s Alzheimer’s Disease Education and Referral Center (ADEAR): http://www.nia.nih.gov/Alzheimers/

Ways you can help (U.S.): http://actionalz.org/overview.asp

Prions & Mad Cow Disease

S. B. Prusiner, The Prion Diseases, Sci. Am. 272, 48-57 (January 1995); http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=the-prion-diseases 

S. B. Prusiner, Detecting Mad Cow Disease, Sci. Am. 291, 86-93 (July 2004); http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=detecting-mad-cow-disease

The discovery of the prion is a scientific detective story: P. Yam, The Pathological Protein: Mad Cow, Chronic Wasting, and Other Deadly Prion Diseases (Copernicus, NY, 2003).

The UK Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) website, includes current statistics for Mad Cow and CJD: http://www.cjd.ed.ac.uk/

BSE resources list compiled by NOVA: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/madcow/resources.html

Search Terms

amyloid, amyloid diseases, Alzheimer’s, Alzheimer’s symptoms, Alzheimer’s treatment, Alzheimer’s care, stages of Alzheimer’s

Search Terms for Other Amyloid Diseases

Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, amyloidosis, CJD, prions, mad cow disease, transmissible spongiform encephalopathy, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, BSE, kuru, scrapie

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