Enzyme linked to Alzheimer's also may be good for you

An enzyme that is believed to cause Alzheimer's disease may actually benefit the body in other ways.

Researchers from Europe and the United States said that beta-secretase, which plays an important role in the development of the protein clumps called beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disease and dementia, is also involved in myelination, the formation of a protective covering for nerve cells early in life. They believe that interrupting that activity could contribute to nerve damage.

Researchers conducted the study in infant mice, at a time when the protective covering forms. The research appears in the Sept. 21 online issue of Science.