Six years ago, scientists discovered a gene whose presence indicates an increased chance of having Alzheimer's disease. Now, a large-scale study has uncovered five additional genes that may help predict the disease. The study involved 50,000 people in the US and Europe.
Researcher said these new discoveries help explain why Alzheimer's presents itself more in the elderly. The discoveries may also lead to method of delaying the onset of this disease or slow its progress. Some of these newly-discovered genes appear to work with or on cholesterol.
Therefore, people with high levels of cholesterol are more at risk in acquiring Alzheimer's disease, according to Dr Michael Boehnke, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Michigan and an outside adviser to the study. The study also found that injuries that cause an inflammation of the brain -- such as strokes and head injuries -- increases the risk of Alzheimer's.
In light of the recent developments, there are now 10 genes directly associated with Alzheimer's. These discoveries have opened up several points from which to understand the disease and hopefully spawn several ways to combat it.