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- Glossary Term -

Amyloid beta (Aβ or Abeta)

Amyloid beta is a normal protein peptide in the human brain, but these particles are chemically “sticky” and gradually build up into plaques, or tough fibril-like structures called amyloid plaques in the brains of people developing Alzheimer’s disease. The small clumps may block cell-to-cell signaling at synapses. They may also activate immune system cells that trigger inflammation in the brain.

Because amyloid beta starts to accumulate in the brain decades before the onset of dementia, ADRC researchers see a window of opportunity to leverage lifestyle changes or new medications to intervene in this early disease process. Clinical trial efforts are underway, at sites such as the ADRC, to test the efficacy of drugs to remove or prevent amyloid beta buildup, and their potential to reduce or delay the onset of cognitive impairment.

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