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Researchers: new treatment possible for Alzheimer's disease

Many readers in Detroit and throughout Oakland County are responsible for protecting the assets of vulnerable adults who suffer from Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia. These older adults are often especially vulnerable to being financially exploited, and if loved ones find out that undue influence or coercion has impacted the writing of a will, then the need for a will contest or some other form of probate litigation may arise.

In addition to the pain and suffering caused by the disease, Alzheimer's is often a major factor in the financial exploitation of adults, given that the disease so strongly affects memory and judgment. With these issues in mind, people in Oakland County will be interested to learn of recent findings about Alzheimer's that researchers say will aid in stopping the progression of the deadly disease.

Doctors and scientists have for a long time known that a certain kind of abnormal protein cell often indicates the early stages of Alzheimer's. But not until recently did anyone know exactly how the disease spreads in the brain.

Through independent studies, researchers at Columbia and Harvard discovered that Alzheimer's starts in a small section of the brain and then moves like a virus through a protein cell called a tau cell. The abnormal tau cells have been shown to clump together and travel along a connected path to other areas of the brain that control memory and reason.

According to the research, what scientists have to do now is find a way to prevent the spread of the protein in patients suffering from Alzheimer's.

These recent findings may have a considerable effect on matters related to will contests and probate litigation, since Alzheimer's patients may become less vulnerable after treatment. Still, when families suspect that a loved one has been subject to undue influence affecting a will or other end-of-life document, pursuing a will contest may be a necessary step when a loved one lacks the capacity to protect the assets of an estate.

Source:, "Alzheimer's discovery could curb spread of disease, researchers say," Niamh Scallan, Feb. 3, 2012

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