Four genes have been recently linked to Alzheimer’s disease, the degenerative brain disorder affecting many of today’s seniors. A recent article published by the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetics Consortium identified the genes, indicating a molecular genetic basis for this brain disorder.
While Alzheimer’s may start at any age, the most common form of the disease starts after a person reaches 65 years old and continues to increase in frequency as people age.
With much effort put into identifying which genes may be relevant to the development of Alzheimer’s up until this point there was only one gene previously identified.
While we all have these genes, some individuals have specific variations that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.
The researchers have identified through a complex statistical model, the relevance of these genes and which variations are important. Having these genetic variations does not mean a person will develop the brain disease but they do affect the chances of getting Alzheimer’s.
Certain genes are causing Alzheimer’s disease in a dominant way and can lead to multiple generations being affected. These new genes increase the susceptibility to developing Alzheimer’s but there is no certainty. It simply signifies an increased risk for each person.
The discovery of these new genes for Alzheimer’s does not mean there is a way to diagnose the brain disorder. The number of genetic combinations and factors that may come into play makes using them as a diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s disease very premature.
It is hoped the discovery of these new Alzheimer’s genes will lead to a better understanding of the cellular pathways that lead to the disease.
Using this understanding, it is hoped potential Alzheimer’s treatments and diagnosis may be developed.