Researchers have traced the age and origin of the E280A gene mutation responsible for early-onset Alzheimer's in a Colombian family with an unusually high incidence of the disease to a single founder dating from the 16th century.
Kenneth S. Kosik, Harriman Professor in Neuroscience at UC Santa Barbara and co-director of the campus's Neuroscience Research Institute (NRI), conducted the study. The findings appear in the journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.
"Some mutations just increase your risk, but this mutation is not a risk," Kosik said. "This mutation is highly penetrant, which means that if you carry the mutation, you will get early-onset Alzheimer's disease."