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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease is a major cause of dementia in the elderly and is a global health concern. However, researchers are not sure what causes the characteristic amyloid-β plaque accumulation and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain. Several model mechanisms have been proposed to answer this question. This paper examines three of these possibilities. Research suggests that a particular allele of the apoE gene is responsible for the neurodegeneration found in Alzheimer’s disease. Another hypothesis is that the mechanism of Alzheimer’s is related to prion-mediated protein misfolding. Other studies indicate that certain environmental factors can cause the neuropathology of Alzheimer’s. Specifically, this paper will investigate the effects of a neurotoxin produced by cyanobacteria. Each of these possibilities is backed by supporting evidence, and there is probably not just one cause. Alzheimer’s is a complex disease caused by a combination of interacting factors that may include these models, as well as others that have not been focused on in this paper. The more that is discovered about the multiple possible causes of Alzheimer’s, the closer we are to developing ways of preventing these pathways in the hope of a cure.

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