There is positive news to report in the battle against Alzheimer’s: the discovery of five new genes that are possibly linked to the disease. American investigators analyzed the genes of 54,000 people, some with the disease and others without. This lead to the discovery of four new genes. British researchers found an additional gene. Together, the teams are working to figure out the correlation of genes on the development of Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a form of degenerative dementia. Scientists now believe the disease is 80% genetic.
“Through our ongoing research, we are finding genes that increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, allowing us to pinpoint what may be going wrong, biologically, in the brain,” Cardiff University’s Julie Williams said of the study and its findings.
The five newly discovered genes impact the body in the way the brain processes cholesterol, lipids, the removal of toxic amyloid-beta protein from the brain and even the immune system.
According to researchers, there are now ten known genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Experts estimate that just being able to treat the effects of those 10 genes would reduce Alzheimer’s cases by 60%.
Researchers say finding these five new genes is a positive step in the right direction when it comes to completely understanding what causes Alzheimer’s disease. Experts say it could take 15 years for treatments to result from this most recent, promising study.
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The new research is published in the journal Nature Genetics.