Navigation Links
Researchers discover genetic cause for word-finding disease

Northwestern University researchers have discovered a genetic cause of a mysterious neurological disease in which people have trouble recalling and using words. The illness, Primary Progressive Aphasia, differs from Alzheimer's Disease in which a person's memory becomes impaired. In PPA, a little known form of dementia, people lose the ability to express themselves and understand speech.

"This discovery, for the first time, provides a molecular approach to understanding the causes and eventually the treatment for this disease, " said Marsel Mesulam, M.D., lead author of the study and the Ruth and Evelyn Dunbar Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Mesulam was the first scientist to identify the word-finding disease in 1982. He estimated it affects tens of thousands of people, though no exact statistics are available. People can begin to show symptoms of PPA as early as in their 40's and 50's.

Scientists discovered the gene mutation, called a progranulin gene mutation, in two unrelated families in which nearly all the siblings suffered from PPA. In the first family, three out of four siblings had the disease; in the second family, two out of three had it. These particular mutations were not observed in the healthy siblings or in more than 200 control samples.

The study was published in January Archives of Neurology and is discussed in an editorial in the journal.

"We're dealing with one of the most puzzling phenomenons in neurology," said Mesulam, director of Northwestern's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. "Here is a disease that specifically attacks the language part of the brain on the left side. What makes it so specific? How does the disease target the language areas?"

"This finding will help us explore not just what causes the disease but the uniquely identifying features of human language. That's a pretty big question," added Mes ulam.

MRI imaging of the brains of people with PPA shows the language part in the perisylvian region of the left hemisphere has shrunk. By comparison, Alzheimer's Disease targets the hippocampus on both sides of the brain.

One of the oddities about PPA is that even when people have lost their ability to speak, they are still able to maintain their hobbies and perform other tasks. "One of my patients redid his vacation home and rebuilt all the cabinets himself. Another took up sculpturing and one kept up her organic garden. We have patients who do very complicated things even when they can't put two sentences together," Mesulam said. Alzheimer's patients lose interest in their hobbies, family life and just sit doing nothing, he noted.

As PPA progresses over 10 to 15 years, however, patients eventually lose their ability to function independently.


'"/>

Source:Northwestern University


Related biology news :

1. Researchers discover way to make cells in the eye sensitive to light
2. Researchers find how protein allows insects to detect and respond to pheromones
3. Researchers Uncover Key Step In Manufacture of Memory Protein
4. Researchers reveal the infectious impact of salmon farms on wild salmon
5. Researchers identify target for cancer drugs
6. Researchers discover molecule that causes secondary stroke
7. Researchers find missing genes of ancient organism
8. Researchers trace evolution to relatively simple genetic changes
9. Researchers add new tool to tumor-treatment arsenal
10. UF Researchers Map Bacterial Proteins That Cause Tooth Loss
11. VCU Researchers Identify Networks Of Genes Responding To Alcohol In The Brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:4/11/2017)... 11, 2017 Crossmatch®, a globally-recognized leader ... today announced that it has been awarded a ... Activity (IARPA) to develop next-generation Presentation Attack Detection ... "Innovation has been a driving force within Crossmatch ... allow us to innovate and develop new technologies ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 5, 2017  The Allen Institute for ... Cell Explorer: a one-of-a-kind portal and dynamic digital window ... imaging data, the first application of deep learning to ... stem cell lines and a growing suite of powerful ... for these and future publicly available resources created and ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/22/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... June 22, 2017 , ... ... and superior results to clients throughout the biopharma and life sciences industries, continue ... the industry is seeing. Tunnell’s Kip Wolf will be speaking on “The State ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 22, 2017 , ... RURO, Inc., ... Limfinity® version 6.5, a content-packed update to the Limfinity® framework. , LimitLIS® and ... and more diverse base of customers among labs and other businesses. Limfinity® 6.5 ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... Hill, CT (PRWEB) , ... June 20, 2017 ... ... support, today announced that the CTNext board of directors has formed a Higher ... by a working group composed of institution presidents and other high-ranking representatives from ...
(Date:6/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... HorizonScan is providing food and ingredient ... likely threat to their products at the annual IFT conference in Las Vegas, ... expo attracts over 20,000 attendees representing food science professionals from over 90 countries ...
Breaking Biology Technology: