Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Distinct Genes Influence Alzheimer’s Risk at Different Ages


The genes that influence the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may vary over the course of an individual’s lifetime, a new study by Duke University Medical Center researchers finds. The team’s results revealed two chromosomal regions not previously known to influence Alzheimer’s disease: one linked to the disorder in families that first show symptoms early in life and another in families with very late onset of the disorder’s symptoms.

William Scott

While earlier studies have identified genes that underlie early- versus late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, the new study is the first to indicate that distinct genes might also determine the very late onset of Alzheimer’s disease, in which symptoms first appear after the age of 80, said Duke Center for Human Genetics researcher William Scott, Ph.D., the study’s first author.

The team’s findings will appear in the November 2003 issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics. The research was supported by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer’s Association. The study immediately follows another in which the Duke team identified a single gene that influences the age at onset of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

Alzheimer’s disease affects up to 4 million Americans and is the most common cause of dementia among people over the age of 65. However, some patients first experience at age 50 the mild forgetfulness characteristic of the disease’s earliest stages; for others, symptoms appear at age 80 or older.

Multiple genes underlie an individual’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease, explained Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Human Genetics and leader of the study. Still other genes determine the age at which individuals first show signs of the disorder.

In their study, the team conducted a genomic screen of 437 families in which at least two members had Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers then applied a novel method of analysis, called "ordered subsets linkage analysis," that allowed them to identify genetic regions linked to Alzheimer’s disease specifically in families that differed in terms of their average age at onset -- without making assumptions about how those age groups should be defined. In contrast, earlier methods have generally lumped people with Alzheimer’s disease into two predefined groups: early and late onset, Scott explained.

The analysis identified a region on chromosome 2 linked to Alzheimer’s disease in families with a minimum age at onset between 50 and 60 years, the researchers reported. The researchers also uncovered a second region, located on chromosome 15, linked to the disorder only in families with a minimum age at onset of 80 years.

A third region on chromosome 9, identified in an earlier genomic screen conducted by the Duke team, was found to influence late onset Alzheimer’s disease in families that experience symptoms between the ages of 60 and 75.

"By including age at onset in our analysis using this new method, we have identified genetic regions that may be associated with Alzheimer’s disease that we wouldn’t have found otherwise," Scott said.

The researchers’ next step will be to apply additional genomic tools to identify candidate genes located in the newly identified chromosomal regions that might influence risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Elizabeth Hauser, Ph.D., Donald Schmechel, M.D., Kathleen Welsh-Bohmer, Ph.D., John Gilbert, Ph.D., and Jeffery Vance, M.D., all of Duke, also contributed to the study. Additional researchers included Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Gary Small, M.D., of the University of California, Los Angeles; and Allen Roses, M.D., and Ann Saunders, Ph.D., of GlaxoSmithKline.

Kendall Morgan | dukemed news
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'
16.03.2018 | Emory Health Sciences

nachricht Scientists map the portal to the cell's nucleus
16.03.2018 | Rockefeller University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Locomotion control with photopigments

Researchers from Göttingen University discover additional function of opsins

Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...

Im Focus: Surveying the Arctic: Tracking down carbon particles

Researchers embark on aerial campaign over Northeast Greenland

On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...

Im Focus: Unique Insights into the Antarctic Ice Shelf System

Data collected on ocean-ice interactions in the little-researched regions of the far south

The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...

Im Focus: ILA 2018: Laser alternative to hexavalent chromium coating

At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.

When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...

Im Focus: Radar for navigation support from autonomous flying drones

At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.

Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

International Virtual Reality Conference “IEEE VR 2018” comes to Reutlingen, Germany

08.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Wandering greenhouse gas

16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Frequency combs' ID chemicals within the mid-infrared spectral region

16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Biologists unravel another mystery of what makes DNA go 'loopy'

16.03.2018 | Life Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>