To understand Alzheimer's disease (AD) is one of the major thrusts of present-day clinical research, strongly supported by more fimdamental cellular, biochemical, immunological and structural studies. It is these latter that receive attention within this book. This compilation of 20 chapters indicates the diversity of work currently in progress and summarizes the current state of knowledge. Experienced authors who are scientifically active in their fields of study have been selected as contributors to this book, in an attempt to present a reasonably complete survey of the field. Inevitably, some exciting topics for one reason or another have not been included, for which we can only apologize. Standardization of terminology is often a problem in science, not least in the Alzheimer field; editorial effort has been made to achieve standardization between the Chapters, but some minor yet acceptable personal / author variation is still present, i. e. P-amyloid/amyloid-P; Ap42/Apl-42/APi. 42! The book commences with a broad survey of the contribution that the range of available microscopical techniques has made to the study of Alzheimer's amyloid plaques and amyloid fibrillogenesis. This chapter also serves as an Introduction to the book, since several of the topics introduced here are expanded upon in later chapters. Also, it is significant to the presence of this chapter that the initial discovery of brain plaques, by Alois Alzheimer, utilized light microscopy, a technique that continues to be extremely valuable in present-day AD research.
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