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Researchers reported Thursday that they have created a new model for studying treatments of Alzheimer’s disease — in rhesus macaque monkeys — that may speed the search for therapies that make an appreciable difference in the course of an illness that affects nearly 6 million Americans.

Despite three decades of intensive research on Alzheimer’s, and billions of dollars in funding, researchers have yet to find a way to prevent or cure, or even to slow, the disease as it rampages through aging brains. Some blame the mice.


Cheap, easy to breed, and easy to genetically manipulate, mice have been the mainstay model organism to study Alzheimer’s. There are now close to 200 different transgenic mice models. Many have mutations in the amyloid and tau proteins implicated in the disease, and some even express “humanized” forms of the proteins. Rodent models have proven crucial for understanding many of the cellular and mechanistic processes occurring in the disease, but many of the treatments that seemed so promising in mice have yet to work in human brains.

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  • Just like everything before, this is garbage. “Now we have a better mouse model,” “now we are studying tau as well as amyloid,” “now we are studying younger animals and humans,” “now we are jacking around data to try to get a blockbuster drug, “now we are scaring the bejesus out of the public to get more funding for bad research.”

    STAT is so good that I’m very disappointed to see such rah-rah unsubstantiated hype regarding a disease that has not budged despite decades of animal research. Hundreds of researchers have made careers and fortunes despite never prolonging the life of a single AD patient for even a single day. Disgraceful.

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