Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover genetic cause for word-finding disease

18.01.2007
Northwestern University researchers have discovered a genetic cause of a mysterious neurological disease in which people have trouble recalling and using words. The illness, Primary Progressive Aphasia, differs from Alzheimer's Disease in which a person's memory becomes impaired. In PPA, a little known form of dementia, people lose the ability to express themselves and understand speech.

"This discovery, for the first time, provides a molecular approach to understanding the causes and eventually the treatment for this disease, " said Marsel Mesulam, M.D., lead author of the study and the Ruth and Evelyn Dunbar Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at The Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. Mesulam was the first scientist to identify the word-finding disease in 1982. He estimated it affects tens of thousands of people, though no exact statistics are available. People can begin to show symptoms of PPA as early as in their 40's and 50's.

Scientists discovered the gene mutation, called a progranulin gene mutation, in two unrelated families in which nearly all the siblings suffered from PPA. In the first family, three out of four siblings had the disease; in the second family, two out of three had it. These particular mutations were not observed in the healthy siblings or in more than 200 control samples.

The study was published in January Archives of Neurology and is discussed in an editorial in the journal.

... more about:
»Alzheimer' »Mesulam »PPA

"We're dealing with one of the most puzzling phenomenons in neurology," said Mesulam, director of Northwestern's Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease Center. "Here is a disease that specifically attacks the language part of the brain on the left side. What makes it so specific? How does the disease target the language areas?"

"This finding will help us explore not just what causes the disease but the uniquely identifying features of human language. That's a pretty big question," added Mesulam.

MRI imaging of the brains of people with PPA shows the language part in the perisylvian region of the left hemisphere has shrunk. By comparison, Alzheimer's Disease targets the hippocampus on both sides of the brain.

One of the oddities about PPA is that even when people have lost their ability to speak, they are still able to maintain their hobbies and perform other tasks. "One of my patients redid his vacation home and rebuilt all the cabinets himself. Another took up sculpturing and one kept up her organic garden. We have patients who do very complicated things even when they can't put two sentences together," Mesulam said. Alzheimer's patients lose interest in their hobbies, family life and just sit doing nothing, he noted.

As PPA progresses over 10 to 15 years, however, patients eventually lose their ability to function independently.

Marla Paul | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

Further reports about: Alzheimer' Mesulam PPA

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria
23.05.2017 | Rice University

nachricht Discovery of an alga's 'dictionary of genes' could lead to advances in biofuels, medicine
23.05.2017 | University of California - Los Angeles

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>