Health Report: Apr. 18, 1994

THE GOOD NEWS

-- A protein that plays a crucial role in Alzheimer's may hold the key to developing a test for early detection of the disease. The protein, beta amyloid, destroys a brain cell's ability to regulate potassium, the chemical that triggers signals governing memory. Since the protein also affects other cells, scientists hope to develop a skin test to detect the onset of Alzheimer's.

-- Alzheimer's sufferers received another ray of hope in the finding that the drug tacrine can significantly -- though temporarily -- improve memory. Unfortunately, tacrine in high doses can damage the liver and cause such...

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