Roskamp Institute scientists in Sarasota have a promising drug in trials in Europe. It switches the Alzheimer factory off.
The Sarasota Observer
SCIENCE & MEDICINE
By Heidi Kurpiela, Community Editor
Thursday, April 3, 2008
It starts as a protein, an organic compound of amino acids that is amorphous. Nebulous. Shaped like nothing, floating in the brain, passing through the blood barrier in small amounts. And like a pinch of vodka in soda water, they go unnoticed.
But over time and for whatever reason — scientists aren’t sure why —more and more of these proteins start accumulating in the brain, blanketing synapses in a sticky kind of plaque and like fine, fine hairs gathering in the bristles of a brush, the brain starts to clog with these things called beta-amyloids.
Under a microscope, the fibrous amyloids are no longer shapeless, nebulous things. They look like hairpins, twisty and stackable like Legos.
If this were a game of Tetris, you would work feverishly to clear the screen. This is an oversimplified metaphor for Alzheimer’s. But the description is not unlike what the scientists in white lab coats are doing on Whitfield Avenue in Sarasota.