As many understand, much scientific research is limited by the cultural model in which researcher's jealously guard their data. The vast gene study of Alzheimer's, reported in yesterday's NYTimes, would not have been possible without the footwork of Dr. Schellenberg. Thus, the quote:
Schellenberg, a pathology professor at the University of Pennsylvania, got what he wanted: nearly every Alzheimer's center and Alzheimer's geneticist in the country cooperated. The scientists were able to analyze the genes of more than 50,000 people in the US and Europe. They now have intriguing clues to why Alz strikes and how it progresses.
In a previous post, I argued from a huge body of research that being nice to people is not enough. You've also got to be competent. Obviously, Schellenberg is both nice and exceedingly competent, the real keys to his success.
The study showed, with a very strong level of research, that there are 10 genes involved in Alzheimer's.
It is known that one of the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease is an accumulation of beta amyloid, or a-beta, a protein that forms plaques. And it is known that later in the disease, twisted and tangled proteins — tau — appear in dead and dying nerve cells.
But what is not known is why a-beta starts to accrue, why the brains of people with Alzheimer’s cannot get rid of its excess, or what is the link between amyloid and tau.
As Schellenberg concludes, We are pretty sure more stuff will pop out.