Monday February 19, 2018

Multi-gene Test Found Effective in Predicting Alzheimer’s Dementia

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Alzheimer
Alzheimer Disease. IANS
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San Francisco, Sep 24, 2017:  In a new test, a research team has found that combining the effects of over two dozen genetic variants help in predicting which cognitively normal older adults will go on to develop Alzheimer’s dementia.

The advantage of the test, known as Polygenic Hazard Score (PHS), is relative to testing only for the well-known genetic variant APOE E4, which has been considered the strongest genetic predictor of whether someone is likely to develop Alzheimer’s — a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time.

However, APOE E4 is only carried by 10 to 15 per cent of the population and recent research suggests that its effects have been overstated, Xinhua news agency reported on Sunday.

Publishing their findings this week in Annals of Neurology, the team, led by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), and the University of California, San Diego, believes that the PHS test could provide risk estimates for the remaining 85 to 90 per cent of people who do not carry at least one copy of APOE E4.

Also Read: Yoga and these 5 Foods Prevent from Alzheimer’s & Will Boost your Memory 

“Beyond APOE E4 by itself, our polygenic hazard score can identify cognitively normal and mildly impaired older folks who are at greatest risk for developing Alzheimer’s associated clinical decline over time,” Chin Hong Tan from UCSF and the paper’s first author was quoted as saying.

Researchers found that PHS test could predict how long it would take for them to progress to Alzheimer’s dementia and how steep their cognitive decline would be.

The test enables the researchers to calculate an age-specific risk of developing Alzheimer’s based upon each person’s share of 31 genetic variants plus APOE E4. (IANS)

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A study finds: What causes dementia?

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1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay
1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. Pixabay

Dementia results in a progressive and irreversible loss of nerve cells and brain functioning, causing loss of memory and cognitive impairments affecting the ability to learn. Currently, there is no cure.

Findings

  • The toxic build-up of urea, a compound created by the liver, in the brain has been found as the major reason that can cause brain damage and lead to Huntington’s Disease, one of seven major types of age-related dementia.
  • Urea level peaks in the brain even before dementia sets in. The discovery could one day help doctors diagnose and even treat dementia.
  • Urea is similarly linked to Alzheimer’s, suggesting that the toxic build-up of urea could be relevant to all types of age-related dementias.
44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Pixabay
44 million people worldwide suffer from dementia. Pixabay

“This study on Huntington’s Disease is the final piece of the jigsaw which leads us to conclude that high brain urea plays a pivotal role in dementia,” said Garth Cooper, Professor at The University of Manchester.

“Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s are at opposite ends of the dementia spectrum — so if this holds true for these types, then I believe it is highly likely it will hold true for all the major age-related dementias,” Cooper said, in the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Urea and ammonia in the brain are metabolic breakdown products of protein. If urea and ammonia build up in the body because the kidneys are unable to eliminate them, for example, serious symptoms can result, the researchers said.

“More research, however, is needed to discover the source of the elevated urea in Huntington’s Disease, particularly concerning the potential involvement of ammonia and a systemic metabolic defect,” Cooper noted.

For the study, the team used human brains, donated by families for medical research, as well as transgenic sheep in Australia.

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