The above headline appeared in Science news magazine recently.
Scientists at University of Cambridge (UK) believe that the damaging Alzheimer’s protein tau spreads within the brain “like an infection”, moving from one place to another along neurons (transneuronal spread). They had studied 17 patients, using MRI and PET imaging. Tau’s spread seemed to be analogous to “the way influenza spreads during an epidemic”.
But funny enough, despite the resemblance they noted to an infectious process, they never even mentioned the possibility that they might be witnessing evidence of a real infection, caused by spread of a microscopic pathogen they couldn’t see, but visualized because of the spread of tau. The visible tau could either be an immune response to the infection, or a byproduct of it.
Well, could it be an actual “infection”? Nobody knows yet. But don’t forget the old saying: “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…”.
Source: Science news magazine