The genes that influence the risk of developing Alzheimers disease may vary over the course of an individuals lifetime, a new study by Duke University Medical Center researchers finds. The teams results revealed two chromosomal regions not previously known to influence Alzheimers 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 disorders symptoms.
While earlier studies have identified genes that underlie early- versus late-onset Alzheimers disease, the new study is the first to indicate that distinct genes might also determine the very late onset of Alzheimers disease, in which symptoms first appear after the age of 80, said Duke Center for Human Genetics researcher William Scott, Ph.D., the studys first author.
The teams 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 Alzheimers Association. The study immediately follows another in which the Duke team identified a single gene that influences the age at onset of both Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases.
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