Signs of Alzheimer's found in the brains of chimpanzees

Signs of Alzheimer's disease have been found in the brains of chimpanzees for the first time.

Researchers say it is unclear whether the characteristic 'plaques and tangles' they found cause dementia in the animals.

The team says the Alzheimer's signs were more prominent in older chimps, just like in humans, and that their findings could help develop new drugs for the disease.

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Signs of Alzheimer's disease have been found in the brains of chimpanzees (file photo) for the first time. Researchers say it is unclear whether the characteristic 'plaques and tangles' they found cause dementia in the animals

Signs of Alzheimer's disease have been found in the brains of chimpanzees (file photo) for the first time. Researchers say it is unclear whether the characteristic 'plaques and tangles' they found cause dementia in the animals

WHAT IS ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE? 

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia. 

The word dementia describes a set of symptoms that can include memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. 

These symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.

In the brains of people with Alzheimer's, a protein called beta-amyloid accumulates and sticks together to form sticky plaques between brain cells.

These plaques prompt changes in another protein called tau, causing it to form tangles. 

Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the top cause of disabilities in later life. 

Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia.  

Treatments for Alzheimer's have previously been difficult to research because other species seem not to develop these plaques and tangles. 

In the brains of people with Alzheimer's, a protein called beta-amyloid accumulates to form sticky plaques between brain cells.

These plaques prompt changes in another protein called tau, causing it to form tangles.

The plaques and tangles block the brain's neuron pathways, causing memory loss and difficulties thinking. 

The only time both of these characteristics have been seen in another animal was in a 41-year-old chimpanzee in

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