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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-12-12 06:50 AM
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Rare genetic mutation protects against Alzheimer's
I love the first sentence of the article.

Apparently, even though the article is about Iceland, the author thinks that, of the the many millions of people around the world who suffer from Alzheimers and have suffered from Alzheimers, the only reason to study the disease is that Americans get it.


Rare genetic mutation protects against Alzheimer's

With more than 5 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, the race is on to surface clues about causes and prevention.

An important breakthrough for the research field comes in the journal Nature this week. Researchers say they found a rare genetic mutation in Iceland that appears to protect against Alzheimer's disease.

The mutation appears to slow the production of the beta-amyloid protein, long considered to be a cause of Alzheimer's. This mechanism helps validate the theory that beta-amyloid plaques an accumulation of the protein - cause this form of dementia for which no cure has been found. The research team was led by Dr. Kari Stefansson, chief executive of the Icelandic company DeCode Genetics. They studied data from the genomes of nearly 1,800 Icelandic people.

A genetic test for the protective mutation wouldn't make sense, since it's so rare, experts said. It's quite possible that this mutation is exclusive to the Icelandic population. Mutations like this are "not so good for screening as they are for teaching whats going on," said Rudolph Tanzi, a Harvard Medical School neurologist who was not involved in this study.

Drugs attempting to clear some of those plaques out have so far failed to reverse the effects of dementia in clinical trials, but this new study drives home that targeting beta-amyloid is still correct, Tanzi said.

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