Liver may be origin of Alzheimer’s disease

Alan Wu

March 8, 2011

Many experts have debated how Alzheimer's disease originally begins to develop, and new evidence shows that it may start in the liver, rather than the brain. This appears to be due to the fact that amyloid plaques are formed in this organ before traveling elsewhere.

"This unexpected finding holds promise for the development of new therapies to fight Alzheimer's," said Scripps Research Institute professor Greg Sutcliffe, who led the study. "This could greatly simplify the challenge of developing therapies and prevention."

This may be because it is easier for medications to target the liver than the brain. Sutcliffe explained to KPBS.org that curing Alzheimer's in the future may consist of just taking a few pills to stop the plaques from forming.

Those who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's may want to consider investing in a medical alarm system as well. This device can be programmed to notify patients when to take different doses and will send a medical alert to caregivers if medications aren't taken on time.

Sutcliffe explained that the next big step after the study was for a pharmaceutical company to conduct trials on human subjects so that they could find the right pills to end the formations of the amyloid plaques.