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 Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>