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Alzheimer's Disease Health Center

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New Alzheimer’s Gene Found

Gene May Explain 5% of Inherited Alzheimer's Disease Cases

Genome-Wide Technique Aids Finding of New Alzheimer's Gene continued...

For the new study, the researchers used GWAS to look for gene variants in about 1,100 people with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and 1,000 people without the disease.

About 9% of those with late-onset Alzheimer's had the MTHFD1L variant on chromosome 6, compared with only 5% of those who did not have Alzheimer's.

The researchers then replicated the findings in 2,500 people, about 1,300 of whom had the disorder.

That replication gives "us more confidence" the finding is real, says Ron Peterson, director of the Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center in Rochester, Minn.

Several other research teams have reported homing in on gene variants involved in Alzheimer's over the years, he says, but the findings often could not be duplicated.

"It's also always nice if the genetics make sense with the biology of the disease," as is the case here, Peterson tells WebMD.

Having genes that can help pinpoint who will develop Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms develop will be even more beneficial once drugs to prevent or slow the course of the disorder become available, he says.

Few people have opted to be tested for the ApoE gene, even though testing is available, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 18 million people worldwide with Alzheimer’s disease, a figure projected to nearly double to 34 million by 2025. There are more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging.

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