amyloid plaque

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A deposit of insoluble beta-amyloid protein (BAP) occurring in the brains of most people over 70 years old, causing degeneration of neurons, and found abundantly in people with Alzheimer's disease, especially in the cerebral cortex, hippocampus, amygdala, and entorhinal cortex. The protein is made up of approximately 40 amino acids and is an abnormal breakdown product of a larger precursor protein that is encoded by a gene on chromosome 21 and is present in healthy brains, though with an unknown function. Also called a senile plaque. See also neurofibrillary tangle, progressive supranuclear palsy. [Named in 1853 by the German pathologist Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (1821–1902) from Greek amylon starch + -oeides denoting resemblance of form, from eidos shape or form, based on the false assumption that it consists of a starchy substance]

Subjects: Psychology.

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