Brain Basics
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Alzheimer's Disease and the Brain
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Act 17


12. More about tangles

Tangle detail (under electron micrograph)

Tangles destroy a vital cell transport system made of proteins. This electron microscope picture shows a cell with some healthy areas and other areas where tangles are forming.

In healthy areas:

  • The transport system is organized in orderly parallel strands somewhat like railroad tracks. Food molecules, cell parts and other key materials travel along the "tracks."

  • A protein called tau (rhymes with wow) helps the tracks stay straight.

In areas where tangles are forming: