New Gene Linked To Alzheimer's

By Toby Roberts

Scientists have discovered a gene that may play an important role in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. The gene, called SORL1, was uncovered in a huge international study involving 6,000 people from varying ethnic groups. Dominican families that carry the gene are about three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's in old age than those who do not have the gene.

The gene adds to a growing list of dozens of genes that may play an important role in the onset of Alzheimer's disease. A handful of genes are known to cause early-onset Alzheimer's, which can strike someone in their 30s or 40s. Another gene, called APO-E4, has been linked to an increased risk of the more common late-onset form of Alzheimer's that strikes in old age, but just because someone carries this gene does not mean they will develop dementia.

More research is needed to confirm the role of SORL1 and its importance in Alzheimer's. Still, the findings could shed new light on possible new treatments for the illness.

In the current study, researchers at Columbia University isolated several genes that might be implicated in Alzheimer's. They then looked for this gene in various ethnic groups, including African-Americans, Dominicans, northern Europeans, and Israeli-Arabs. Only the SORL1 gene seemed to be linked to Alzheimer's.

Those who carry the gene produce excess amounts of a substance called amyloid precursor protein. This protein can then be converted into a toxic form of beta amyloid that clogs the brain and kills brain cells, leading to the symptoms of Alzheimer's over time.

With further research, scientists may be able to develop new drugs or other treatments that block this beta amyloid pathway. Still, much more study is needed before such treatments might be available.

Many factors, besides genes, play a role in the onset of Alzheimer's. To learn more visit [http://www.alzinfo.org]www.alzinfo.org, The Alzheimer's Information Site.

Written By: Toby Bilanow for www.alzinfo.org, The Alzheimer?s Information Site. Reviewed by William J. Netzer, Ph.D., Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation at The Rockefeller University.

Sources:

Robert S. Wilson, PhD; Kristin R. Krueger, PhD; Steven E. Arnold, MD, et al: Loneliness and Risk of Alzheimer Disease. Archives of General Psychiatry, Volume 64, February 2007, pages 234-240.

Please visit our website to learn more about Alzheimer's disease.

More Resources

$errorCode = 9
xml_error_string() = Invalid character
xml_get_current_line_number() = 228
xml_get_current_column_number() = 23
xml_get_current_byte_index() = 23693
Custom Search

More Alzheimer's Articles:

Related Articles

The Symptoms of Alzheimer's Disease


Alzheimer's Disease is a disease that impairs the brain and causes memory loss, particularly in the elderly. What in effect happens is that nerve cells in the brain die manifesting itself with symptoms of memory loss. Nerve cells are crucial to the process of recall. Although the disease develops slowly it will eventually lead to death. Alzheimer's disease is the 9th most common cause of death for those who are 65 years old or more. It is worth noting that the average time from diagnosis till death is approximately 8 years, although some suffers have lived for 20 years, before the disease leads to death.

Alzheimer's Disease and Music Therapy


Activities for Alzheimers patients will often depend on the stages of Alzheimer's disease that the person is at. Alzheimer disease and music therapy are now used in many cases with some amazing results. One of the most remarkable things about this sad disease is the joy and comfort that Alzheimer's disease and music therapy can bring, my late Gran suffered from Alzheimer's in her latter years and my Dad used to always play some old songs on a Wednesday night.

New Brain Health Roadmap Announced


On June 10th something wonderful happened, and the media hasn't paid much attention yet. On that day, the National Public Health Road Map to Maintaining Cognitive Health was released by the CDC and the Alzheimer's Association. IN this article, I want to first share with you the 10 top actions proposed by this report, and then provide a quick glossary to explain the key words that you will hear more and more when discussing brain health.

Caring For Parents With Alzheimer's Disease


Alzheimer's disease directly affects about four million people in the United States, though it affects many more of us indirectly. While we may not be suffering from the disease personally, many of us are in a position where it has become necessary to care for someone with Alzheimer's.

Therapy Pets Prove Soothing to People With Alzheimer's


The recent win of Diamond Jim, an English Springer spaniel, at the Westminster Kennel Club's annual top dog competition in New York City brought attention to an increased calling for select pets across the country; serving as therapy dogs for people with Alzheimer's and other disabling ailments. The dog, commonly called James, is retiring from the show world to live the life of a therapy dog. James and his human partner have already worked with people with Alzheimer's, proving a soothing presence in nursing homes where they visit.

Helpful and Fun Activities For Patients With Alzhemier's Disease


If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's Disease or even someone living with this disease there are some easy and fun activities that you can do to help ward off the effects of Alzheimer's disease. These activities will help to keep your brain active, flexible and alert.

Alzheimers Info To Make Your Life Easier


Probably one of the most difficult things you'll every have to do, is care for someone with Alzheimers. The reality that the person with Alzheimers is likely very close to you, only makes the task more challenging. Being armed with as much Alzheimers info as possible, and knowing where you can turn to if you need more help or information can make a world of difference. Being someone who cares for another human being puts you into a category with a high degree of burnout. It can be a stressful, thankless job. You need to stack the odds in your favor as much as possible.

Heavy Metal Anchors Alzheimer's in Your Brain


Heavy metals and aluminum are in every part of our environment and food. These elements are deadly and you will benefit if you are aware of what they do where they come from.

Signs of Alzheimer's Disease


As most of us grow older, it's normal to fear the onset of Alzheimer's disease. Millions of people around the globe suffer from its affects daily and since it is a disease that is so closely associated with growing older, it's natural to think that it is going to happen to you, especially if you have a family history of Alzheimer's in your family. There are signs of Alzheimer's disease that you can watch out for.

Do Elevated Homocysteine Levels Increase Risk For Alzheimer's Disease?


A natural amino acid called homosysteine has recently been linked to several age related diseases. Some researchers believe it may also be linked to the onset of Alzheimer's Disease.