A team of researchers led by University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, scientists has discovered how connections between brain cells are destroyed in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease — work that opens up a new avenue for research on possible treatments for the degenerative brain condition.

The team studied a protein in the brain called neural cell adhesion molecule 2, or NCAM2 – one of a family of molecules that physically connects the membranes of synapses and help stabilize these long lasting synaptic contacts between neurons.

The research is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Using post-mortem brain tissue from people with and without the condition, they discovered that synaptic NCAM2 levels in the part of the brain known as the hippocampus were low in those with Alzheimer’s disease.

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