The main cause of Alzheimer’s disease is a dysfunctional protein according to a study of over 3,600 post-mortem brains. It was previously unknown if damaged or dysfunctional protein known as tau or amyloid build-up was the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

A research team behind the new study believes that tau is Alzheimer’s primary cause. Tau and amyloid are both proteins found naturally in the body. Tau proteins helps stabilize parts of cells, while amyloid is an abnormal protein created by bone marrow.

The researchers found that damaged tau disrupts the transport ability of neurons eventually leading to their death.

Original research paper published in Brain on March 24, 2015.

Names and affiliations of selected authors

Dr. Melissa E. Murray, Mayo Clinic, Neuropathology Laboratory,Florida, U.S.A.