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When we are babies, our brains are more open to the shaping hand of experience than at any time in our lives. Though Alzheimer's is a disease and not a natural result of aging, the risk does increase with age -- nearly half of everyone over 85 has Alzheimer's disease. Finding a treatment for or, better still, a way to prevent Alzheimer's would clearly be a tremendous medical, social and humanitarian boon. Efforts to find a way to prevent or treat Alzheimer's are proceeding along many different avenues.
On the neural level, a healthy neuron (top) and a neuron with the plaques and tangles of Alzheimer's (bottom). When researchers earlier in this century dissected the brains of deceased Alzheimer's patients, they noticed that the brains were full of two kinds of obviously abnormal structures: what are now referred to as plaques and tangles. For a long time, researchers have struggled to understand whether plaques and tangles are causes or results of Alzheimer's disease, and which of the two is the more significant pathology. In an exciting development, the Irish drug company Elan and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories in New Jersey, working jointly, announced in July 2001 that they are about to begin human testing of a new Alzheimer's "vaccine" that could halt or even cure the disease. Meanwhile, other teams of researchers are looking for ways to block or prevent the production of amyloids in the brain in the first place.

Parents Share Emotional Video of Their Toddler Who Was Declared Brain DeadThe 2-year-old was initially hospitalized for an asthma attack. The parents of a 2-year-old boy named Israel Stinson are fighting to keep the toddler alive after doctors declared him brain-dead. Now, Fonseca and Stinson have taken their fight to federal court to get Israel a feeding tube, ventilator, vitamins, and thyroid medication that could allow them to move him to New Jersey, where laws that govern brain death are different from California. The mystery begins in the womb -- only four weeks into gestation the first brain cells, the neurons, are already forming at an astonishing rate: 250,000 every minute. The eyes and the visual cortex of an infant continue to develop after birth according to how much stimulation she can handle.
Hundreds of promising discoveries have been made in the past few years, and at least one group of researchers may be on the brink of a finding a viable treatment, or at least a greatly improved understanding of what causes the disease. Plaques are abnormal build-ups, in the spaces between the afflicted brain's nerve cells, of a kind of protein fragment called beta-amyloid. The new human tests, set to begin in the fall of 2001, should show whether it works to treat people with Alzheimer's. They've also filed a restraining order that keeps the hospital from taking Israel off of life support.

Billions of neurons will forge links with billions of other neurons and eventually there will be trillions and trillions of connections between cells. Tangles are abnormal collections, inside neurons, of twisted threads made up of a protein called tau.
On Monday, they were granted an extension to that order and are now waiting on a final decision."If your heart is still beating in New Jersey, then you're still alive. Infant cataracts pose an interesting challenge to scientists: How to remove the visual obstruction without compromising brain development. According to some estimates, the annual total cost of caring for Alzheimer's patients in the U.S.

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