Scientist Li-Huei Tsai’s research into Alzheimer’s has a very personal motivation. The grandmother who brought her up suffered from the debilitating disease. The researcher told the science journal Nature, “Her confused face made a deep imprint in my mind. This is the biggest challenge of our lifetime, and I will give it all I have.” And now Tsai may have made a crucial breakthrough in the treatment of dementia.
Tsai had been working with mice genetically engineered to display one of the tell-tale signs that humans show when they are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. People with the condition have a build-up in the brain of a protein called beta amyloid. This forms plaques which in turn can kill brain cells resulting in the typical dementia symptoms of amnesia and confusion.