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Studies find Alzheimer's-linked genes

September 7, 2009 3:15:38 PM PDT
Two separate European research teams have identified three gene variants that affect a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.One study was conducted at Cardiff University in Wales while the other was conducted in France at the University of Lille.

Other genes have previously been identified as playing a role in developing Alzheimer's.

Experts believe the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease is genetics. As much as 80 percent of a person's risk can be traced back to genes.

According to the Washington Post, two of the genes included in the new research are believed to be connected to the brain's ability to rid itself of amyloid proteins that form plaques which cause a loss in brain function.

Most experts think that if the creation and spread of amyloid proteins can be slowed down or even stopped, the proliferation of Alzheimer's will also be curbed.

The new research can be found in the journal Nature Genetics.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta says an estimated five-million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. The disease usually begins after age 60.

Known risk factors include family history, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

According to the CDC, there are several treatable diseases and conditions that can mimic symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Those include depression, thyroid problems and dehydration.

There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease.

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