The prevailing medical wisdom that Alzheimer’s disease has its origins in the brain has a radical and disputed rival with shocking implications for medicine’s relentless efforts to forestall disease, aging and death, according to a new review of the evidence.

The established medical view is that Alzheimer’s is primarily a degenerative disease of the brain caused by the effects of accumulating protein deposits — known as “beta-amyloid” senile plaques and “neurofibrillary tangles” — that interfere with neural pathways and signaling.

But the alternative explanation argues that aged-related dementia has an earlier origin in the heart and vascular system, not the brain. 

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