Alzheimer's could result from early division of nerve cells, study suggests

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Scientists may have uncovered a key relationship in their understanding Alzheimer's disease.

A new study in mice suggests that Alzheimer's may be triggered when adult neurons, or nerve cells, try to divide. This finding could lead scientists to new ways of treating it.

It is known that nerve cells or neurons affected by Alzheimer's often start to divide before they die. The study reveals that, in animal models of Alzheimer's, the abnormal cell division begins a long time before markers of the disease, such as amyloid plaque, appear.

Cell division occurs through a process called the cell cycle. Stop the cycling and you may be able to stop the nerve cells from dying prematurely, according to research leader Karl Herrup of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. The work was conducted at Case's Alzheimer's Disease Center.