A groundbreaking new study shows that over 20 genes are involved with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is the largest study ever conducted on the genetics of Alzheimer’s and is paving the way for new treatments and prevention methods.
The newest and largest genetic study of Alzheimer’s was published in Nature Genetics on October 27 and shows eleven new genes associated with the disorder. The study showed that at least 20 genes play some role in the development of the disease, which is more than double the number of genes previously implicated.
An international research team, led by Philippe Amouyel at the Pasteur Institute in Lille assembled genetic information from over 74,000 participants from 15 countries, some participants had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and others had not. Of those who had Alzheimer’s, researchers found regions of DNA that were more common in people who had the most common form of Alzheimer’s, late-onset Alzheimer’s. The study brings the total list of known gene variants to 22.
Being able to identify the genes that cause Alzheimer’s opens up new treatment options and even prevention methods. One of the newly discovered genes is a risk-raising gene, so that those who have the gene are at a greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. This helps scientists understand the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s and might help lead to new prevention methods.
The newly identified genes will also allow the development of new drugs to be specifically targeted at those genes, ultimately making drugs more effective.
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