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Scientists Spot More Genes Related to Alzheimer's
Date:6/14/2010

were changed in people with Alzheimer's disease who also had these types of genetic variations," Cirillo said.

The study confirmed that APOE is still the dominant gene when it comes to Alzheimer's, while the three more recently identified regions seemed to have an additive effect.

In addition, the authors "found two new areas that were associated with some of the MRI changes of Alzheimer's disease that hadn't been implicated in previous studies of Alzheimer's," Rosand said.

The next step is to figure out what these genes do. Right now, scientists only know that "they encode proteins that are involved with the growth of neurons, the integrity of neurons and the function of neuronal transmission, but beyond that we don't know," Rosand said.

"It's very important that these types of genes are localized and fleshed out, and that the basic biology of why they are making changes is discovered," Cirillo said.

In addition to predicting risk, the genetic variants could be potential targets for both prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's, although that's way down the line.

More information

Visit the Alzheimer's Association for more on this degenerative disease.



SOURCES: Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., senior director, medical and scientific relations, Alzheimer's Association; Jonathan Rosand, M.D., faculty member, Center for Human Genetic Research, Massachusetts General Hospital, and associate professor, neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston; June 2010 Archives of Neurology


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