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​Annelise Barron: The battle against Alzheimer’s is reinvigorated

Fresh insights into Alzheimer’s are giving researchers renewed confidence that better treatments are just around the corner.​

Close-up of a human brain

In the last 14.5 years, there have been over 400 clinical trials aimed at developing new drugs for Alzheimer’s disease. | Stocksy/Vera Lair

While Alzheimer’s disease has cut short too many lives and devastated more families than can be counted, its root causes and effective treatments have eluded researchers for decades.

But, says Stanford bioengineer Annelise Barron, new science indicates that many Alzheimer’s cases are coincident with viral or bacterial infections in the brain, pointing to possible new approaches to treatment or prevention.

Barron says that one human protein in particular, LL-37 — which she refers to as a “Ninja protein” that protects against infections — can bind with and detoxify A-beta, the protein that forms the harmful plaques in the brain that are the hallmark of Alzheimer’s. Inducing LL-37 could be a way to prevent Alzheimer's.

Join host Russ Altman and Alzheimer’s sleuth Annelise Barron for a hopeful look at the latest science of Alzheimer’s disease.

You can listen to the Future of Everything on Sirius XM Insight Channel 121iTunesSoundCloud and Stanford Engineering Magazine.