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A. A Protein Linked to an Inherited Form of Alzheimer's Disease

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers studying a rare, inherited early-onset form of Alzheimer's disease have uncovered a protein involved, which may lead to new therapies and prevention methods. Neurobiologist Frank LaFerla of the University of California, Irvine, says the protein is linked to an imbalance of calcium in brain cells.

LaFerla: It's not related to dietary calcium - we're talking about very specific release of calcium from sub-cellular sites. So we don't want people to go on and develop osteoporosis because they're stopping taking their calcium. The processes that we're talking about are not dietary-related.

Narrator: The rare form of Alzheimer's Disease that LaFerla and his colleagues are studying can strike patients in their twenties.

LaFerla: You might ask, why study a form of Alzheimer's Disease that's so rare? And the reason for doing that is it gives you now a molecular handle to chart out some of the earliest and hopefully the first pathological steps in the cascade that leads to neurodegeneration.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.