DEMENTIA and Alzheimer’s disease are currently incurable but now scientists have found a gene which could protect against the degenerative disease.
Dementia cure: Identifying variants in genes could hold the key to a cure
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease which means it gets worse over time.
While experts are not entirely concrete on the cause of the condition – they are agreed the disease causes a loss of connection between nerve cells in the brain which can also lead to a loss of brain function.
Current research argues the disease is caused by a built up of proteins in the brain which are commonly known as ‘plaques’.
Amyloid beta is the main component of these plaques.
Now experts have found a gene variant protecting against Alzheimer’s disease decreases plasma beta-amyloid levels.
Dementia cure: Alzheimer’s disease is caused by or linked to the accumulation of amyloid beta
New research from the University of Eastern Finland shows that the APP gene variant protecting against Alzheimer’s disease ‘significantly decreases’ plasma beta-amyloid levels.
Experts have hailed the news as a ‘very significant discovery’, as many drug trials in the field of Alzheimer’s disease focus on decreasing beta-amyloid levels in the brain tissue.
Researchers looked at the data of the METSIM (METabolic Syndrome In Men) study ongoing at the university.
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease strongly characterised by the accumulation of beta-amyloid in the brain tissue.
Knowledge of the genetic background of Alzheimer’s disease is crucial for finding new prevention measures and treatments, and for understanding the cellular level mechanisms of the disease.
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many drug trials in the field of Alzheimer’s disease focus on decreasing beta-amyloid levels in the brain
Uncovering the genetic development of Alzheimer’s disease has been a target of great interest over the past few years, and genome-wide mapping studies focusing on risk genes have led to significant advances in the field.
These studies have identified not only several new risk genes for Alzheimer’s disease, but also gene variants that protect against it.
Research groups focusing on Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes at the University of Eastern Finland have now show that the APP A673T gene variant, which can protect against Alzheimer’s disease, leads to an average of 30 per cent decreased levels of the beta-amyloid subtypes 40 and 42.
The effects of this previously discovered gene variant were analysed using data from the METSIM study – which uses data from 10,000 men living in Finland.
Approximately 0.3 per cent of the population are carriers of the APP A673T gene variant.