5 more genes behind Alzheimer’s disease risk identified

April 4th, 2011 - 12:38 pm ICT by ANI  

London, April 04 (ANI): A consortium of Alzheimer’s researchers, including a team from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, has identified five more new genes that when present add to risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

“Mount Sinai has unique resources that we contributed to the study, having one of the largest brain banks for Alzheimer samples in the world,” said lead Mount Sinai scientist, Joseph Buxbaum, Professor of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Genetics and Genomic Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

“Follow up studies of the genes identified, to determine how they affect brain biochemistry, are now possible in our samples, and this can help us understand how the genes contribute to Alzheimer’s disease”

The researchers had two main goals for the study. First was the identification of new Alzheimer’s disease genes to provide major clues as to its underlying cause. Genetic studies can provide new insights into the molecules at the center of the disease. Obtaining this type of understanding is critical for drug discovery, since the treatments currently available to patients are only slightly effective.

The second goal was for the gene discovery of the type highlighted in the Nature Genetics article to ultimately contribute to predicting who will develop Alzheimer’s disease, which will be important when preventive measures become available. Knowing these risk genes will also help identify the first disease-initiating steps that begin in the brain long before any symptoms of memory loss or intellectual decline are apparent.

This knowledge will help researchers understand the events that lead to the destruction of large parts of the brain and eventually the complete loss of cognitive abilities.

The findings have been published in the current issue of Nature Genetics. (ANI)

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