Alzheimer’s is on the rise, but scientists are making progress on treatments they think may finally make a dent in the disease.
But as Forbes reports, researchers still aren’t certain about the cause of the illness. That gap in knowledge means that a range of drugs that aim to clear the brain of amyloid plaque, clumps of protein fragments that are one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s, may never work.
Some skeptics of the dominant amyloid hypothesis think the build-ups are “actually a response to injury that the brain secretes to protect itself, like a scar,” says Mark Smith, a neuroscientist at Case Western Reserve University. He tells Forbes that by removing it, “you will make the disease worse.”