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Fungus May Block Alzheimer's Protein

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Some natural types of fungus appear to inhibit the build-up of tau—a protein linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.

“Tau is a protein that is produced by the body,” says T. Chris Gamblin, associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Kansas. “It’s found primarily in neurons in the normal brain where it helps them maintain their shape and function.

“In Alzheimer’s disease, through a mechanism we don’t quite understand, tau is changed in a way that causes it to start clumping together with other tau molecules, forming string-like fibrils that accumulate into the pathological structure in Alzheimer’s disease called ‘neurofibrillary tangles.’”

For a new study published in Planta Medica, researchers tested 17 natural fungal products, most of which had similar structures to compounds seen by previous researchers to hinder tau formation.

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