Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, and the fifth leading cause of death in those 65-years and older in the US. Despite the growing prevalence of Alzheimer’s, the genetic and environmental factors that make some more susceptible to the development of the disease is still not well understood.
Now, researchers from Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), working with scientists across the nation on the Alzheimer’s Disease Sequencing Project, have discovered new genes that will further the current understanding of the genetic risk factors that predispose people to the development of Alzheimer’s.
The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, identifies three new genes that had not previously been linked to Alzheimer’s, as well as several new variants in genes that had been associated with the disease.
“Many of our findings will provide insight into disease mechanisms and targets for biological experiments to gain further understanding about the role of these genes in Alzheimer’s disease pathogenesis,” says corresponding author Dr. Lindsay A. Farrer, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at BUSPH, and chief of biomedical genetics and professor of medicine, neurology, and ophthalmology at BUSM.
By comparing the exomes (gene-coding portions of entire genetic sequences) of nearly 6,000 individuals with Alzheimer’s, and 5,000 cognitively healthy older adults, the researchers were able to find rare variations in genes that they believe may contribute to the development of common Alzheimer’s disease.
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