Alzheimer's is a very complex and heartbreaking disease, with no great understanding of how it develops or how to cure it, causing no forms of any type of treatment. Scientists at the Salk Institute decided to grow neurons that resemble brain cells in older patients, and it shows that they start to lose their identity. They are shown to be markers of stress, and tend to resemble cancer cells which is also linked to aging.
In the study they conducted comparing skin cells with Alzheimer's affected patients, they discovered that the Alzheimer's cells had a lack of synaptic structures, which are important for sending signals to each other. They also had changes in their signaling pathways, which control cell function, indicating that the cells were stressed. Additionally, they found the Alzheimer's neurons had very similar molecular signatures to immature nerve cells found in the developing brain, meaning they lose their mature identity.
Hopefully with these new insights and further research, there can be a new therapeutic treatment for Alzheimer's patients. This could substantially change the path for the patient and for their families when dealing with this life-changing disease.