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article imageAlzheimers Breakthrough: Scientists Find New Genes

By Kevin Jess     Sep 6, 2009 in Health
It has been 16 years since the last major discovery in our understanding of Alzheimer's Disease. Two international teams led by the British and the French have now identified three new genes that are closely linked to the dreaded disease.
It is estimated that cancelling out the effects of the 3 genes could prevent almost 100,000 cases of the most common form of Alzheimer's a year in the UK alone.
The three new genes, known as clusterin, complement receptor 1 (CR1) and PICALM are linked to the most common form of the disorder, late-onset Alzheimer's.
Late-onset Alzheimer's affects patients at age 60 or later and accounts for about 90% of all Alzheimer's cases worldwide reports Time.
The last gene found in connection with the disease was apolipoprotein E (ApoE) in 1993.
The study was the largest genetic Alzheimer's research project ever conducted and involved analysing the DNA from more than 16,000 individuals over two years reports Nottingham.co.uk.
The French team analyzed DNA from 7,000 individuals.
Next year, further research is planned for a similar study involving 60,000 people.
The teams were unaware of each other's research and findings, until July when both happened to present their data at the International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Vienna much to each other's delight.
The new understanding means that we now have better knowledge of late-onset Alzheimer's which affects most of the 5.3 million people in the U.S. now suffering with the disease. Most of our understanding was centered around the lesser common, inherited form of the memory disorder.
Studies and findings such as these do show us different ways of looking at diseases but they also allow us to eventually find new treatments reports Time.
Experts do agree that there are most likely many more genes that will be found that affect the progression and development of diseases but this latest discovery has given the world a treasure trove of knowledge for researchers and their quest for understanding and eventually a cure.
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