Worms don’t wiggle when they have Alzheimer’s disease. Yet something helped worms with the disease hold onto their wiggle in Professor Jessica Tanis’s lab at the University of Delaware.
In solving the mystery, Tanis and her team have yielded new clues into the potential impact of diet on Alzheimer’s, the dreaded degenerative brain disease afflicting more than 6 million Americans.
A few years ago, Tanis and her team began investigating factors affecting the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. They were doing genetic research with C. elegans, a tiny soil-dwelling worm that is the subject of numerous studies.
Expression of amyloid beta, a toxic protein implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, paralyzes worms within 36 hours after they reach adulthood. While the worms in one petri dish in Tanis’s lab were rendered completely immobile, the worms of the same age in the adjacent petri…