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New brain model provides patient-specific Alzheimer’s insights, predictions of cognitive decline

A study led by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital has established a new resource for exploring and understanding Alzheimer’s disease (AD) on an individualized level. The team generated induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines from over 50 different individuals for whom longitudinal clinical data, quantitative neuropathology data, and rich genetic and molecular profiling of brain tissue was also available. The team demonstrated the power of this new resource through a series of studies that turned these human stem cells into brain cells and then analyzed molecular pathways active in these living neurons in a dish. The team identified specific forms of amyloid beta-protein (Aβ) and tau protein associated with cognitive decline and AD, and uncovered signaling pathways influencing the production of these toxic species. Their findings are published in Neuron.