Like all types of dementia, Alzheimer’s is caused by brain cell death. It is a neurodegenerative disease, which means there is progressive brain cell death that happens over a course of time.
The total brain size shrinks with Alzheimer’s – the tissue has progressively fewer nerve cells and connections.
- Plaques are found between the dying cells in the brain – from the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid (you may hear the term “amyloid plaques”).
- The tangles are within the brain neurons – from a disintegration of another protein, called tau.