A research team from the Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered two gene mutations that could cause late onset Alzheimer's disease in humans. The good news, according to the researchers, this can help in the prevention and treatment of the disease.
The two mutations the researchers found in the ADAM10 gene, showed an increase in producing the beta-amyloid protein. The beta-amyloid protein is founded in people who suffer from Alzheimer's. The mutations also stop the creation of new nerve related cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is critical as it main purpose is to help with the brain's function to learn and retain memory.
"This is the first report to document, in animal models, new [disease-causing] gene mutations for Alzheimer's since the reports of the original four genes in the 1990's." , study senior author Rudolph Tanzi, director of the genetics and aging unit the Mass General Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease, said at the hospital news release.
"What we found regarding the many effects of these two rare mutations in ADAM10 strongly suggests that diminished activity of this enzyme can cause [Alzheimer's disease], and these findings support ADAM10 as a promising therapeutic target for both treatment and prevention." he said.
Similar findings from animal models does not mean it will be founded in humans, but it is a potential help in the fight against Alzheimer's. The disease, founded by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, is a form of dementia found in older adults, usually over the age of 60. The importance of these finding is that there has not been a reasonable cure or prevention of this condition. The hope is that with these new findings, researchers can continue to find new solutions to prevent a disease that affects millions worldwide.
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