Using brain imaging, researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) have found clear differences in brain function between healthy people who carry a genetic risk factor for Alzheimers disease and those who lack the factor.
Because researchers believe that Alzheimers disease starts changing the brain years before any symptoms appear, the disease may be most amenable to treatment in these pre-clinical stages. If so, detecting the early changes will be crucial for future therapies.
People who carry the genetic risk factor, the å 4 allele of the Apolipoprotein (APOE) gene, have higher risk of developing the disease than non-carriers and usually show symptoms earlier. "It is possible that what were seeing in the APOE- å4 carriers are early changes in the brain caused by Alzheimers disease," says the studys senior author, Yaakov Stern, Ph.D., of CUMCs Taub Institute and Sergievsky Center.
Karen Zipern | EurekAlert!
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