The Possible Fabrication of Alzheimer’s Research


Doctor and Puzzling Mind, Digital Art Created by Jade Bluestone.

Jade Bluestone, reporter

Researchers have previously developed the theory that Alzheimer’s is caused by plaque buildup in the brain. But this theory was recently put into question by a Vanderbilt University assistant professor, as evidence reappeared suggesting that the photos used in the study were flawed or manipulated, potentially misdirecting the course of Alzheimer’s research for the past 16 years.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive, degenerative disease that affects memory and attacks a person’s brain. Patients with Alzheimer’s experience rapid memory loss which progresses until patients are unable to care for themselves. My grandmother is just 1 of 5.8 million people affected by this debilitating disease, currently diagnosed in her 4th stage. The process of diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s is an intricate one. It’s been nearly 7 years and she can no longer care for herself, despite her trying to act independently. As patients progress through the stages, the more severe the disease gets. 

According to Medical News Today, the allegations reported a key dementia study, conducted in 2006 in the Journal, Nature was possibly fabricated. This research has influenced Alzheimer’s disease research for the last 16 years. But a study by Science reports some of the images used in the initial study had been manipulated.

Science Magazine reported, “Some Alzheimer’s experts now suspect Lesne’s studies have misdirected Alzheimer’s research for 16 years,” Lesne being the research publisher.

The allegations report the irregularities are related to an oligomer accompanied by a protein in the brain called amyloid. Over the past 20 years, scientists believed this drove the disease into progression, while others now believe it was caused by it. The photos regarding the fabrication have seemed to be manipulated as other cases could not replicate its results. 

If proven to be accurate, this discovery could create many problems because all the extensive research put into question that has guided Alzheimer’s research which included experimental drug trials, pharmaceuticals, medicine, funding, and patients was now possibly fabricated. 

“Suffering is always hard to quantify, especially when the pain is caused by a disease as cruel as Alzheimer’s. Most illnesses attack the body, Alzheimer’s destroys the mind,” said Kluger, Senior Editor of Time magazine. Alzheimer’s is undoubtedly a difficult disease to understand, but it’s important to be aware of something that affects a large majority of people in the United States. Despite all of the money and research into this debilitating disease, one has to wonder why hasn’t there been more progress.