Cardiff University discovers new Alzheimer’s genes

Recent research at Cardiff University has discovered another 5 genes that could be help to develop new treatments for Alzheimer’s. There are now 10 genes known to be directly associated with the degenerative and debilitating brain disease.

The team at Cardiff, led by Prof. Julie Williams, have been conducting their research by using a combination of 4 genetic studies which have involved almost 60,000 people across the globe. The latest findings were published in Nature Genetics, and will help further research to be focussed on the cause of Alzheimer’s and the possibility of future treatments.

It isn’t thought that these 5 new genes have a dramatic effect on the risk of a person developing Alzheimer’s, as genetic susceptibility, lifestyle, environment and ageing are generally believed to be involved.

Prof.Williams said that this latest study has followed up previous research that they did with about 20,000 Alzheimer’s sufferers and 40,000 healthy people. This helped them to identify the 5 new genes, which increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. She added that through their on going research and the discovery of these genes, they were closer to pinpointing what might be going wrong in the brain to trigger off Alzheimer’s.

She also said that what is particularly exciting about these discoveries is the variations of the genes fit together. 5 of the genes play a role in the immune system, 4 function on the surface of the cells and 3 move the fat around inside the cell. It was extremely likely that these separate processes play a key role in the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

The possibility of future treatments for Alzheimer’s may come too late for present sufferers, but it’s good to know there may be hope for those who develop it in the future. Finding the cause will also be a major step forward.