Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gene Mutation Appears to Protect Against Alzheimer's

A group of Scandinavian researchers has discovered a rare gene mutation in the amyloid beta precursor protein (APP) that protects against Alzheimer's disease and age-related cognitive decline. They presented their discovery in the online July 11 Nature, and experts are calling it the most significant advance in the field in decades. According to the New York Times, the discovery bodes well for drug companies working on anti-amyloid treatments targeting Alzheimer's disease.

The first clue to the mutation came about when researchers at the Icelandic company DeCode Genetics scanned the entire DNA of 1,795 Icelanders. About 1 in 100 had a mutation in the gene for a large protein that is sliced to form beta amyloid. Then the investigators studied people who had been given an Alzheimer’s diagnosis and a group of people aged 85 and older. Those with the mutation appeared to be protected from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Read more about the quest to find effective treatments for Alzheimer's disease in Psychiatric News, here.

(Image: kentoh/


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