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December 6, 1985

Alzheimer's Disease and Corticotropin-Releasing Factor

Author Affiliations

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies and The Howard Hughes Medical Institute La Jolla, Calif

JAMA. 1985;254(21):3085-3086. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360210101041

Two subjects of broad interest to the basic and medical sciences have found a common ground in the accompanying article by Bissette and colleagues.1 Alzheimer's disease is a common form of senile dementia with severe effects on cognition and affect. It has been studied intensely in recent years because a firm diagnosis can be made postmortem on the basis of neurofibrillary tangles and neuritic plaques, which are most common in the cerebral cortex, particularly in the hippocampal formation. Nothing is known with certainty about the etiology of Alzheimer's disease, although current interest has been sparked by the discovery that levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are severely depleted in the hippocampus and other parts of the cerebral cortex in patients with the disorder.2 This finding was of particular interest in view of evidence that the hippocampus plays a critical role in short-term memory, and the more permanent consolidation of