A team of scientists has discovered genes responsible for how our brains work as we age, which has brought the development of new treatments for dementia closer to reality.
The University of Edinburgh study found that some people are more at risk of conditions such as Alzheimer's, due to genetic makeup, the Daily Express reported.
Using DNA data from 54,000 people, aged over 45, all over the world, researchers pinpointed genetic signals that make them more likely to develop dementia and they hope further studies can be carried out on the "biological mechanisms" which make these genes work. It raises the possibility of treatments to prevent the condition developing.
The study uncovered small signals from four genetic regions associated with strong thinking skills.
Researcher Ian Deary said that they knew that general thinking skills in older age were heritable to some extent, but they did not know which genes were involved, adding that these small genetic signals are like the first lights on a distant shore.
James Goodwin, head of research at Age UK, said that these findings are a real breakthrough, for the first time identifying genes that influence the way human brains work in older age.
The study is published in Molecular Psychiatry.