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What is beta amyloid and how is it implicated in Alzheimer’s disease?
Beta amyloid protein "plaques" in the brain are one of the defining features of Alzheimer's disease. However, we also know the effects of beta amyloid on a person’s brain and cognitive abilities are not straightforward. For example, research has shown that up to a third of older people without cognitive problems also have beta amyloid accumulation in their brains1 and beta amyloid can be present for years before symptoms of dementia can become apparent.2 We also don’t know what proportion of otherwise healthy people with beta amyloid in their brains will go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease.