How an outsider bucked prevailing Alzheimer's theory, clawed for validation
Robert Moir was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. The Massachusetts General Hospital neurobiologist had applied for government funding for his Alzheimer’s disease research and received wildly disparate comments from the scientists tapped to assess his proposal’s merits. It was an “unorthodox hypothesis” that might “fill flagrant knowledge gaps,” wrote one reviewer, but another said the planned work might add little “to what is currently known.” A third complained that although Moir wanted to study whether microbes might be involved in causing Alzheimer’s, no one had proved that was the case. As if scientists are supposed to study only what’s already known, an exasperated Moir thought when he read the reviews two years ago. He’d just had a paper published in a leading journal, providing strong data for his idea that beta-amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, might be a response to microbes in the brain. But something had long bothered him about the “evil amyloid” dogma. Dr.
Related: science explains world
• Science Posts
• Health Research