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Published on Jan 26, 2017
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and also the best understood. It is thought to be caused by the formation of abnormal deposits of protein in the brain. These are called plaques and tangles, and they are made up of two key proteins: amyloid and tau.
Amyloid and tau are present in healthy brains, but in Alzheimer’s disease they function abnormally. Amyloid forms plaques outside cells and tau forms tangles inside them. These plaques and tangles damage the nerve cells, causing them to die. When lots of cells die, this causes the brain to shrink.
Alzheimer's Society is the leading support and research charity for people with dementia, their families and carers.
What is dementia?
The term 'dementia' is used to describe the symptoms that occur when the brain is affected by specific diseases and conditions. Symptoms of dementia include loss of memory, confusion and problems with speech and understanding.