In what has been described as a step towards defeating dementia, a scientist from the Cardiff University, Professor Julie Williams has uncovered five new genes that could increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

The research followed up on previous study of 20,000 people affected by Alzheimer's and further study of 40,000 individuals not affected by it, according to Professor Williams.

The five new genes thus identified (together with the five earlier known) have directed scientists to a pattern which is enabling them to implicate a number of factors and ascertain if there is something different about the responses of people with, or about to be affected by, Alzheimer's disease. For example, says Professor Wiliams, it's telling us there's something different about the immune system of people who go on to develop Alzheimer's disease. So their immune response or inflammatory response within the brain is different in Alzheimer's disease.

Removing the detrimental effects of these genes through treatments, it may be eventually possible to reduce the proportion of people developing Alzheimer's in the long-term. It could also lead to development of more effective treatments for the devastating condition in the long term.

As Dr. John Williams, Head of Neuroscience and Mental Health at The Wellcome Trust - one of the sponsors of the research - has said, As our population ages, we will see more and more people affected by Alzheimer's disease... understanding the complex processes that underpin the disease will be essential to earlier diagnosis and to developing improved treatments. This interesting new study takes a step further along this path.