They discover that the main hypothesis of the origin of Alzheimer’s disease has been manipulated by its author

The Alzheimer’s It is one of the most studied major neurodegenerative diseases over the past two decades. The theory of its origin and development has revolved around a protein called beta-amyloid, which builds up in plaques in the neurons of people with Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, it was thought to happen due to two pathological brain phenomena already perfectly documented, the accumulation of beta-amyloid peptides and the modification of the tau protein, the aggregates of which are found in the neurons which deconstruct the cerebral architecture. Since then, thousands of studies have searched for a way to find a cure that disables both processes, but none with sufficient success. And now it’s been revealed that the reason could be in a scientific fraud. This is revealed by an article in the journal Science which assures us that the discoveries of the father of this theory, Sylvain Lesne, They were made manipulate images.

This scientist has acquired a great reputation because with his work he has reinforced the currently dominant thesis on the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. He presented results that appeared to show that if a particular type of beta amyloid – amyloid beta star 56 – was injected into rats, these animals were unable to remember information very simple already learned, like where was a hidden platform in a maze.

The answer was based on a chemical cascade It created these plaques, damaged brain tissue and rendered this organ dysfunctional. Since then, public funding and research have supported this idea. In this sense, the importance lies in the fact that the experiences which seem to have been called have supported the main theory on the cause of this dementia and have guided the development of many therapies over the past 16 years.

According to this author, the accumulation of these plaques are the precursors of this disease, even if one wonders now whether it is a cause or consequence of the same. This might explain why there are certain drugs, such as the infamous aducanumab, whose approval in the United States was followed by a lively controversy because, despite effective destruction of plaques, there was no evidence that it improved the course of the disease.

Not even a year has passed since aducanumab was approved for biogenic, the company that owns the drug has decided to stop betting on it and withdraw all commercial support.


These truncated results were discovered by a 37-year-old neurologist from Vanderbilt University (USA) called Matthew Schrag, who was one of the skeptical researchers of this famous drug. In his study, he devoted himself to analyzing the side effects of the drug, it was there that he found the aforesaid manipulated images (of which more than 70 in the works of Lesné). These same had been launched by the biopharmaceutical company Cassava request authorization for the drug.

Following these observations, Schrag contacted various journals and institutions that had supported this theory. also with the magazine Science, who subjected Schrag’s research to independent verification. The magazine brought the photographs to a freelance image analyst and many of the leading Alzheimer’s disease researchers.

All agreed that hundreds of images were “shockingly egregious examples of image manipulation”, he said. Donna Wilcock disease specialist at the University of Kentucky. According to Elisabeth Bik, a molecular biologist and recognized consultant in forensic imaging, “the authors seemed to have composed figures join parts of photos from different experiences”.

Of course, the researcher is careful when he mentions the word “fraud” because, as he indicated, the manipulations may be due to numerical procedures used during the experiment and not to an intention of the authors. However, observations say otherwise. And although some of these works have been corrected, the changes do not convince Schrag either.

Researchers, after the news, believe that this will have no short-term impact in research, because there are thousands of studies still in progress whose main hypothesis revolves around this idea. . Moreover, despite this scandal, it cannot be excluded that beta-amyloid remains an important target. Although they believe that now studies and science will begin to explore other paths which differ from this one.

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