ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ZEPHYR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Alzheimer's disease. Coloured axial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain of a 65- year-old patient with Alzheimer's disease. The front of the brain is at top in this view from below. The progression of this degenerative disease has caused atrophy in both halves of the brain, but especially at upper right and upper left (brown areas). The ventricles (centre, purple) have also been affected and are dilated from their normal size. The causes of Alzheimer's are poorly understood, but it is associated with the formation of plaques of an insoluble protein (amyloid) in the brain, and decreased levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is incurable, but the symptoms can be treated with drugs to raise acetylcholine levels.
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