Genetic clues to prevent Alzheimer’s discovered

April 4th, 2011 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

London, April 4 (IANS) The discovery of five genetic links to Alzheimer’s disease potentially opens newer ways of treating the condition.

The discoveries mean a total of 10 genes are now known to play a role in late-onset Alzheimer’s — the most common form of dementia.

Eradicating the effects of all of them would remove 60 percent of the illness in the population, or 300,000 cases in Britain, the journal Nature Genetics reports.

Cardiff University lead researcher Julie Williams, who led the study, said the findings mean it may one day be possible to identify those most at risk, according to the Daily Mail.

“In 10 to 15 years’ time, we may be taking drugs to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s in the
same way as we take statins to prevent the onset of heart disease,” she said.

Some 750,000 people in Britain are living with dementia. By 2021, this is set to soar to
almost a million as the population ages. By 2030, there are expected to be 66 million
sufferers worldwide.

The findings focused on genes affecting three bodily processes - the immune system,
cholesterol processing, and a cellular process that removes toxic protein from the brain.

To find new gene variants, Williams and a consortium of fellow researchers looked at data from 25,000 people with Alzheimer’s disease and 45,000 healthy people who were used as “controls”.

Williams said the latest five “show compelling evidence of association with Alzheimer’s disease”.

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