An April 2022 international study has identified 75 genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease including 42 new genes that had not previously been linked to the disease. Findings of the study were published in the journal, Nature Genetics.
What is Alzheimers?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and is often hereditary. This study more than doubles the number of identified genes that influence risk. Researchers say this provides new targets for therapeutic interventions and will allow them to develop algorithms to better predict who may later develop Alzheimer’s disease.
The collaborative project involved researchers in eight countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and across Europe. The study provides compelling evidence to support a role for inflammation and the immune system in the disease, as well as hereditary factors.
The study shows for the first time that a specific biological signaling pathway involving TNF-alpha. This is a protein with an important role in inflammation and the immune system and is implicated in Alzheimer’s. There is also evidence that the dysfunction of microglia, immune cells in the brain that are responsible for eliminating toxic substances, are less efficient in some people and may accelerate the disease.
What to do about it?
The next step in developing treatments for Alzheimer’s is for researchers to focus on the specific risk genes that were identified in this study. Specifically examining their role in the dysfunction and death of brain cells. Progress will eventually be seen in the development of new drugs targeting these biological pathways.
While this study offers exciting hope for the future, many families deal with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease every day. Having help for their loved one impacted by Alzheimer’s or other dementia can be life-changing. At BeeHive Homes, we understand how hard if it. If we can be of help in dementia care at any of our Texas assisted living homes, please reach out. Our trained caregivers and small group home centers for dementia care can make life easier in the here and now.