The finding could lead to complementary treatments for the most common form of dementia, researchers found.
"It appears that reducing tau has a protective effect on the brain," said Lennart Mucke, director of the Gladstone Institute, which led the study.
Researchers cut tau production in mice brains in half by inactivating one gene that produces the protein. In other mice, all tau production was eliminated by inactivating both genes.
Even in mice where tau production was reduced, mice genetically engineered to develop Alzheimer's lived a normal lifespan and retained their memory function.
Defeating Alzheimer's and dementia is especially important because if there is radical life extension via the defeat of heart disease and cancer and the creation of effective rejuvenation then keeping the mind fit will be critical