Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Two very large studies, appearing yesterday as advance, online publications of Nature Genetics, identified five additional genes linked to Alzheimer’s, doubling the number of genes believed to contribute to the disease.
The amount of genetic risk attributable to each of these newly identified genes is not large, but they may help point researchers to new ideas for the causes and/or mechanisms underlying this devastating and fatal disease.
The APOE gene remains the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
One study by U.S. researchers analyzed the genes of 54,000 people, some with Alzheimer’s and others of the same age without the disease, and found four new genes. The other study, from mostly European scientists, confirmed the U.S. research and added an additional gene. The studies also confirmed the previous Alzheimer’s genes, making 10 genes associated with Alzheimer’s in the elderly.