By applying a new technique that combines independent lines of genomic evidence, Duke University Medical Center researchers and colleagues have identified a single gene that influences the age at which individuals first show symptoms of Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases.
Such genes that can impact patients age at onset for the two very prevalent neurological disorders are of particular interest as alternative targets for treatment, said Margaret Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., director of the Duke Center for Human Genetics. Drugs that delay the onset of Alzheimers or Parkinsons diseases beyond the normal human lifespan would effectively prevent them in patients at risk for the disorders, she added.
Alzheimers disease is the most common cause of dementia among people over the age of 65, affecting up to 4 million Americans. Parkinsons disease -- characterized by tremors, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, slow movements and a lack of balance -- afflicts approximately 50,000 Americans each year. Both are complex disorders involving multiple genes.
Kendall Morgan | dukemed news
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