An international collaboration of geneticists from 145 academic institutions investigating Alzheimer’s Disease have performed a meta-analysis of data about the DNA of 17,000 patients and 37,000 healthy people. Their analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) has identified 21 genetic susceptibility loci, 11 of which are newly discovered, which are thought to make it more likely that the people involved may develop late-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (LOAD).
It is hoped that further study of these genes’ functions, possibly involving their role(s) in the immune system, may throw light on what goes wrong and causes Alzheimer’s Disease. Some researchers have speculated that it could be how the body deals with cholesterol, and / or the way brain cells deal with big molecules (endocytosis), which may play a role in neurodegeneration.
Read more: BBC News: Alzheimer’s insight from DNA study.
Gallagher, J. (2013). Alzheimer’s insight from DNA study. London: BBC Health News, October 27th 2013.
Note: There is a more detailed NHS Choices appraisal of the likely significance of this research:
More gene changes have role in Alzheimer’s disease. London: NHS Choices; Behind the Headlines, October 28th 2013.
This relates to:
Full Text Link (Note: This article requires a suitable Athens password, a journal subscription or payment for access).
Lambert, JC. Ibrahim-Verbaas, CA. [and] Harold, D. [et al] (2013). Meta-analysis of 74,046 individuals identifies 11 new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease. Nature Genetics, Epub ahead of print: October 27th 2013.
“The researchers estimated that the proportion of people in the population with Alzheimer’s disease would be changed by between 1 and 8% if the risk associated with these genetic variants was removed.” (NHS Choices).
Samples of freely available articles from international teams of geneticists (whose work, collectively, is likely to be the subject of discussions at the G8 Dementia Summit) are available to browse.