Tags: Alzheimer's/Dementia | alzheimer | gene

Alzheimer's Gene's Effects Emerge in Childhood: Study

Alzheimer's Gene's Effects Emerge in Childhood: Study
(Copyright DPC)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 July 2016 05:04 PM

A gene tied to Alzheimer’s disease may begin to effect the brain and thinking skills as early as childhood, according to a new study.

The findings — published online in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology — suggest it may be possible to diagnose the condition early in life, when treatments designed to slow its progression may be most effective.

“Studying these genes in young children may ultimately give us early indications of who may be at risk for dementia in the future and possibly even help us develop ways to prevent the disease from occurring or to delay the start of the disease,” said lead researcher Dr. Linda Chang, of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology.

Past studies have shown people with a genetic variant of the so-called “apolipoprotein-E gene” are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those without it,

The new study, which analyzed genetic profiles and brain scans of 1,187 children ages 3 to 20 years, found those with the gene defect had notable differences in the development of brain areas affected by Alzheimer’s. Brain scans showed those with the genetic variant tended to have smaller regions of the brain known as the hippocampus, which plays a role in memory and thinking skills.

“These findings mirror the smaller volumes and steeper decline of the hippocampus volume in the elderly who have the [Alzheimer’s] gene,” Chang said.

In addition, some of the children with the gene defect had lower scores on tests of memory and thinking skills.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Institutes of Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute on Child Health and Human Development.


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A gene tied to Alzheimer's disease may begin to effect the brain as early as childhood, according to a new study.
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2016-04-13
Wednesday, 13 July 2016 05:04 PM
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