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Research Leads New Thinking on Alzheimer’s Disease

An international team of scientists has uncovered new genes in the search for the genetic make-up of lateonset Alzheimer’s disease (AD), with their work into this devastating condition already changing the way people are thinking about treating and diagnosing the disease.

The research*, funded by the Wellcome Trust, has pinpointed the variants in another five genes that are responsible for increasing the risk of contracting AD in old age; this brings the total number of genes identified as
significant in the cause of AD to nine. Kevin Morgan, Professor of Human Genomics and Molecular Genetics, in the Institute of Genetics, leads the Alzheimer’s disease research group at The University of Nottingham. He said: “Groups worldwide have spent the last 20 years searching for these genes.

The consortium has played a major part in finding all of the genes before anybody else. Our aim is to improve the lives of AD patients and their families, who live with the fear that they will also develop the disease. Until now the genetics of late-onset AD have been poorly understood. We are now on the way to identifying all the genetic factors that contribute to late-onset AD. This research is already spurring on additional research towards treatments based on specific genetic issues which contribute to the disease.” The UK-led research involved scientists from universities in Cardiff, London, Cambridge, Nottingham, Southampton, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol and Belfast. They collaborated with Irish, German, Belgian, Greek and
American institutions. *The study has been published in Nature Genetics. April 3, 2011

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