Medindia
Advertisement

Research Finds Genetic Mutation Linked to Alzheimer's Disease Doubles Rate of Brain Tissue Loss

by Kathy Jones on October 20, 2013 at 6:40 PM

 Research Finds Genetic Mutation Linked to Alzheimer's Disease Doubles Rate of Brain Tissue Loss
A new study from Keck Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) reveals that people who carry a genetic mutation associated with Alzheimer's disease may develop the disease three years earlier than expected.

Scientists at the Keck School of Medicine of USC have mapped the effects of that genetic mutation, showing for the first time how the Alzheimer's risk factor affects the living human brain. The discovery is detailed in the Oct. 17 edition of The New England Journal of Medicine alongside five other studies focused on the TREM2 gene variant, whose link to Alzheimer's was first reported in January.
Advertisement

"Our lab studies the rate of brain tissue loss in elderly people, trying to discover factors that protect you as you age," said Paul M. Thompson, Ph.D., USC professor of neurology, psychiatry, engineering, radiology and ophthalmology and the study's principal investigator. "We have never seen such a dramatic effect as with this genetic variant. If you carry this genetic mutation, we've found that there is this wildfire of tissue loss in the brain."

Healthy people typically lose less than 1 percent of their brain tissue a year, offset by normal tissue generation from mental stimulation, Thompson said. Symptoms of Alzheimer's begin to manifest when approximately 10 percent of the brain's tissue has eroded away.
Advertisement

"This is the first study to use brain scans to show what this gene variant does, and it's very surprising," Thompson said. "This gene speeds up brain loss at a terrific pace. Carriers of this genetic mutation, who comprise about 1 percent of the population, lose about 3 percent of their brain tissue per year. This is a silent time bomb in 1 percent of the world."

Thompson and colleagues compared brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 478 adults (average age 76 years old) participating in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative over two years. The group included 283 men and 195 women from across North America; 100 participants had Alzheimer's disease, 221 had mild cognitive impairment and 157 were healthy elderly adults.

Keck researchers found that mutation carriers lost 1.4 percent to 3.3 percent more of their brain tissue than non-carriers, and twice as fast. The loss appears to be concentrated in the brain's temporal lobe and hippocampus, areas that play important roles in memory.

"This TREM2 mutation appears to multiply the risk of Alzheimer's by three or four times, which is very useful information. Enrolling those people who carry the mutation in clinical trials for Alzheimer's treatments could help us reach quicker and more meaningful results," Thompson said.



Source: Eurekalert
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
'Hybrid Immunity' may Help Elude COVID-19 Pandemic
Stroop Effect
Plant-Based Diet may Reduce the Risk of COVID-19
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Alzheimers Disease Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Genetics and Stem Cells Genetic Testing of Diseases Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Crigler-Najjar Syndrome Gilbertís Syndrome 

Recommended Reading
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and ......
Brain Exercises to Improve Memory
An active brain can certainly help in improving memory by strengthening the connections between ......
Undetected Nutrient Deficiencies: The Cause of Ill Health
Micronutrient and antioxidant deficiencies are most common and go unnoticed. They are the root ......
Vitamin B12 - An Essential Vitamin
If you feel that the persistent or regular incidences of depression have got nothing to do with ......
Ataxia
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Crigler-Najjar Syndrome
Crigler-Najjar syndrome arises due to the lack or deficiency of the enzyme uridine diphosphate glucu...
Genetic Testing of Diseases
Genetic testing helps to confirm a genetic condition in an individual and involves q complex laborat...
Gilbertís Syndrome
Gilbertís syndrome is a common, mild liver disease in which a liver enzyme required to process bilir...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsonís disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use