Israeli scientists may be closing in on cause of Alzheimer’s

Researchers see disease-like syndromes on mice injected with tomosyn

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Illustrative photo of elderly men playing backgammon at a country club in northern Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of elderly men playing backgammon at a country club in northern Tel Aviv. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Researchers from Tel Aviv University are tentatively positing that they may have discovered the origin of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Despite immense amounts of research into dementia and other cognitive diseases that affect vast numbers of people around the world, and significant progress in addressing the illnesses, there are no known cures. The Israeli research points at a protein in the brain called tomosyn as a possible key to the diseases, Israel Radio reported Thursday.

Memory and motor problems are often the cause of problematic communication between cells. When communication is disrupted between the cells, memory and movements slow down, and in some cases communication can be totally cut off. Tomosyn is one of the active components in the cells’ communication process.

Headed by Professor Uri Ashery from the Sagol School of Neuroscience, a group of researchers injected tomosyn into the brains of mice, and saw Alzheimer-like syndromes, indicating the disease could be caused by too much of the protein. Expressing caution, the team said there was still a long way to go before confirming the theory.

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