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New Alzheimer's Risk Genes Identified
Date:5/11/2010

Finding could lead to future treatments, researchers say

TUESDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Scientists have pinpointed two genes that are linked to Alzheimer's disease and could become targets for new treatments for the neurodegenerative condition.

Genetic variants appear to play an important part in the development of Alzheimer's since having parents or siblings with the disease increases a person's risk. It is estimated that one of every five persons aged 65 will develop Alzheimer's disease in their lifetime, the researchers added.

Genome-wide association studies are increasing scientists' understanding of the biological pathways underlying Alzheimer's disease, which may lead to new therapies, said study author Dr. Sudha Seshadri, an associate professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine.

For now, people should realize that genes likely interact with other genes and with environmental factors, she added.

Maria Carrillo, senior director of medical and scientific relations at the Alzheimer's Association, said that "these are the types of studies we need in terms of future genetic analysis and things must be confirmed in much larger samples, as was done in this study."

The report is published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although it was known that three genes are responsible for rare cases of Alzheimer's disease that run in families, researchers had been sure of only one gene, apolipoprotein E (APOE), that increased the risk of the common type of Alzheimer's disease, Seshadri noted.

Using a genome-wide association analysis study of 3,006 people with Alzheimer's and 14,642 people without the disease, Seshadri's group identified two other genes associated with Alzheimer's disease, located on chromosomes 2 and 19.

The first gene was close to a gene called BIN1 on chromosome 2 and the second was close t
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