Is the Alzheimer’s Gene the Ring Leader or the Sidekick?

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the greatest health challenges we are currently facing.   One in three seniors will be affected.   Health care services are costing $236 billion per year.

Researchers at USC and the University of Manchester are comparing verbal memory testing and genetic testing.   These researches looked at data for over 20,650 participants over the age of 50 who were repeatedly tested over years to study how their memory changed over time.

Participants were tested for:

Immediate Recall — Told a list of words that were immediately asked to repeat back.

Delayed Recall — Told a list of words, 5 minutes later asked to repeat the words.

When the number of words between the two tests is large that can signal the development of some form of dementia.

The researchers than looked at gene variations in conjunction with the recall information and found that the gene TOMM40 had strong links to those showing memory issues with immediate recall and delayed recall.   Up until now the gene variation most doctors were concerned with when dealing with Alzheimer’s was the ApoE4 gene.   While this feels like a further complication, all new information gets us closer to the truth.

Key Points:

  • 1Scientists have isolated TOMM40, a gene, which may have a big impact on certain forms of age-related memory loss.
  • 2Health care services are costing $236 billion per year for those suffering with Alzheimer’s.
  • 3There are more than 70 researchers at USC who are dedicated to the prevention, treatment and potential cure of Alzheimer’s disease.

The notorious genetic marker of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, ApoE4, may not be a lone wolf.

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