The role of tau in Alzheimer’s disease- In a minute

Researchers have linked specific symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to where tau deposits occur in the brain. Biogen’s Head of Biomarkers, John Beaver, Ph.D., on how new technologies are allowing researchers to see tau inside the brain.


Over the past decade, one of the big game changers that's happened is the emergence of PET tracers. First for amyloid and more recently for tau, which is thought to be the pathology that carries through more into the symptomatology of Alzheimer's disease. 

One of the things we've learned, thanks to PET tracers, is that the amount of tau you have in your brain is very closely linked to the severity of your symptoms. 

What we’ve also learned is that actually where the tau is deposited affects the symptoms.  

So, for people who have tau deposited in their frontal cortex, they have a lot more trouble making decisions. People who have tau primarily deposited in their medial temporal cortex, are predominantly experiencing memory loss, and things like they can't remember how to get home from the supermarket.

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