Researchers studied the brains of deceased chimpanzees and discovered they showed markers of the human form of Alzheimer's disease.
A Kent State University team found tangled blood vessels in the brains of all 20 of the chimps it studied. Thirteen of them had plaques.
Both of those are signs of Alzheimer's, although it is not clear if the primates actually had the disease. Still, the finding means scientists may be able to study chimps as they seek more information about the deadly type of dementia that eventually leaves those stricken with it totally dependent on others and without any sort of memory before they die.
Chimps, according to the study that was published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging, are the only animal scientists know of that might potentially get Alzheimer's.
Study co-author William Hopkins told Science Magazine, "we could design a number of studies to tax their memory now. There just wasn't any pressing need to pursue that before, but this study will change that."
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