First-Ever Genetic Study of Late-Onset Alzheimer’s Disease in Hispanic Families
Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center have found two locations in the human genome that may harbor genes that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. If confirmed, they will be the first genes linked to Alzheimer’s disease since ApoE4 was discovered in 1993. The findings are published in the November issue of Molecular Psychiatry, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group. “We feel confident that we may be closing in on new Alzheimer’s genes,” says the study’s senior author, Richard Mayeux, M.D., co-director of the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain at Columbia University Medical Center. “This is a major collection of families, and family studies really give you more confidence that the region you’re looking at is significant.”
Researchers think that Alzheimer’s is caused by the interaction of several different genes, but so far only one gene, ApoE4, has been linked conclusively to the disease. Finding the other genes will be a huge step toward understanding how Alzheimer’s begins and how it can be treated. It will also allow clinicians to predict who will develop Alzheimer’s later in life and who will benefit from drugs that prevent the disease.
Karen Zipern | EurekAlert!
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