Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | alzheimer | gene | young

Alzheimer's Genes May Be Detectable in Youth: Study

Alzheimer's Genes May Be Detectable in Youth: Study
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Wednesday, 06 July 2016 04:00 PM

New research shows that genes tied to Alzheimer’s disease may be used to predict who will develop the memory-robbing disorder in young adulthood.

The findings — published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology — could lead to a test that could be administered decades before symptoms emerge, giving doctors a chance to lessen or help stave off the disease’s impact with medications and other therapies.

“The stage of Alzheimer’s before symptoms show up is thought to last over a decade,” said Dr. Elizabeth C. Mormino, Ph.D., with Massachusetts General Hospital who helped lead the research. “Given that current clinical trials are testing whether therapies can slow memory and thinking decline among people at risk for the disease, it is critical to understand the influence of risk factors before symptoms are present.”

For the study, researchers calculated a score based on whether or not a person has several high-risk Alzheimer’s-related gene mutations. The study involved 166 people with dementia and 1,026 without, with an average age of 75.

The scientists also looked for specific markers of Alzheimer’s disease, such as memory loss and thinking decline, clinical progression of the disease, and the size of the hippocampus (the memory center of the brain).

They compared the results with those of 1,322 healthy, younger participants between the ages of 18 and 35.

The study found that older people free of dementia who had a higher risk score tended to have a worse memory and a smaller hippocampus than those who had lower genetic risks.

“Our study was small and larger numbers of participants will need to be studied to confirm our findings,” said Mormino. “The goal of this type of research is to help physicians better identify those at high risk of dementia so that future preventative treatments may be used as early as possible.”

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

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New research shows that genes tied to Alzheimer's disease may be used to predict who will develop the disorder in young adulthood.
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2016-00-06
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 04:00 PM
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