Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers turn to brainpower to beat dementia

16.02.2005


Scientists have turned to the brightest brains in Britain in a bid to understand the link between intelligence and dementia.



A team of researchers from The University of Manchester will be asking members of the high-IQ society Mensa for DNA samples in what will be the world’s most sophisticated study of brainpower. The research will allow the team to find genes associated with intelligence and examine how they interact with each other. “When you look at the genes in combination you reduce the statistical power of the research considerably,” explained Dr Tony Payton, who works in the University’s Centre for Integrated Genomic Medical Research (CIGMR) and is leading the research. “Selecting individuals who represent the extreme end of the IQ distribution increases this power dramatically. For example, 200 volunteers with an IQ of 145 is equivalent to using 100,000 unselected volunteers.”

The results of the Mensa research will complement data collected from an earlier University of Manchester study of some 2,500 elderly people that has taken place over the last 20 years. That research has already uncovered two genes associated with general cognitive ability, while work elsewhere over the past eight years has identified a further 10 other ‘intelligence genes’. “The study of intelligence is shrouded by historical, biological, ethical and descriptive complexities that have made a mockery of its intended definition ‘to reason and understand’,” said Dr Payton. “Although our understanding of the biological basis of intelligence is still at an early stage, a general consensus about the role genes play in determining the level of intelligence has now been reached. “All of us possess the same genes but there are variations within the genes themselves, known as ‘polymorphisms’, which are largely responsible for what makes us all unique. “They have an important influence on factors such as our behaviour and susceptibility to disease and, of the genes implicated in intelligence, the associated polymorphism has been shown to alter the function of the gene.”


Theoretically, the research with Mensa will be the most powerful approach to studies in this field ever adopted. The study of 2,500 elderly people over 20 years has created the second largest DNA archive in the world – the Dyne Steele DNA bank – and is unique in that it assessed volunteers for changes in cognitive function. “Combining this study with the Mensa research will take cognitive genetic research to an altogether new level and maintain The University of Manchester’s position as a world leader in the field,” said Dr Payton. “Scientists are interested in intelligence genes because high intelligence protects against the onset of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease. “A greater understanding of the role that genes play in regulating intelligence may help in the development of new diagnostic tests and more effective treatments designed to combat cognitive impairment in the elderly.”

Mensa has more than 25,500 members in the United Kingdom and Ireland, all of whom have an IQ that is measured in the top 2% of the population. The aim of the project is to initially recruit at least 1,000 members and investigate if there is a difference between their genetic polymorphisms and those found in average IQ individuals using the Dyne Steele DNA bank. Most studies to date have only investigated single polymorphisms in single genes but given there are more than 33,000 human genes these approaches are incredibly expensive and time consuming.

Using cutting-edge technology, known as ‘Affymetrix Microarray’, Dr Payton’s team will be able to investigate more than 100,000 polymorphisms at a time and hope to identify many intelligence genes in a short time.

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht For a chimpanzee, one good turn deserves another
27.06.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

nachricht New method to rapidly map the 'social networks' of proteins
27.06.2017 | Salk Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Touch Displays WAY-AX and WAY-DX by WayCon

27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Drones that drive

27.06.2017 | Information Technology

Ultra-compact phase modulators based on graphene plasmons

27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>