Alzheimer’s Disease is a neurological disorder that has progressive nature, leading to the atrophy of the brain(brain size shrinks) and ultimately results in the death of brain cells. A hallmark of Alzheimer’s is the abnormal build-up of a specific protein called Amyloid in the brain.
Alzheimer’s is an irreversible disease that causes damage to your memory and thinking capabilities in its initial stage and worsens over time, destroying your ability to perform even simple tasks. Its symptoms usually appear after the age of 60.
What causes Alzheimer’s?
The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is still unknown and understudy. Generally, it is believed that this deadly disorder arises due to the failure of brain protein to function properly as a result, brain cells(neurons) lost connection between them, and eventually, death of neurons occurs.
Genes linked to Alzheimer’s Disease
Recently, 11 latest genes that are considered as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease have been discovered by scientists. These researches and discoveries aim to prevent and delay the early onset of the disease.
Alzheimer’s disorder is one of the most common causes of dementia in elders. According to reports, more than 5 million Americans have been affected by this disease. Various forms of a gene called APOEare recognized as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. But after 2009, more genes have been discovered that are now regarded as a risk factor of the disease.
Researchersof IGAP(International Genomic Alzheimer’s Project) have been working together on genome-wide association studies (GWAS) since 2011. This research includes hundreds of DNA samples and shared datasets. GWAS is designed to detect any minor genetic changes that may lead to the disease.However, more research and analysis,at a higher level, is required that will able the medical professionals to identify further genetic risk factors.
Findings by IGAP
In October 2013, IGAP reported the role of specific gene variants and some important pathways in Alzheimer’s disease.In this study, scientistsscanned the DNA of more than 74,000 volunteers. Participants were older adults andgathered from 15 countries. People included in this study were of two categories; one suffering from late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and the other includes those who were free of the disorder. Till to date, it is the largest genetic analysis conducted in Alzheimer’s research and was supported by National Institute on Aging (NIA) and other NIH organizations.
The scientists identified the following 11 new genes that are linked with Alzheimer’s disease:
DRB1, SORL1, PTK2B, SLC24A4/RIN3, ZCWPW1, CELF1, NME8,FERMT2, CASS4, INPP5D, and MEF2C.
The research also reported 13 variants that help in further analysis.
Conclusions of the Study
Because of this study, an interesting discovery was made. The results gave evidence about the involvement of some specific pathways in the onset of Alzheimer’s. These pathways include immune response, inflammation, cellular proteins, and lipid transport while some other pathways namely, synapse function, cytoskeletal function, and specialized cells in the brain called microglia, are also reported to have contributions to some extent.
But still, experts conclude that Alzheimer’s is a complicated disease, and more study is required to understand the specific role these genetic factors may play.
Latest Researches On Genetic factors that are linked to the onset of the Alzheimer’s Disease”
According to observations done by scientists at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, a gene, called RBFOX1 and its variants, is recognized as a reason for causing amyloid plaques in the brain.
RBFOX1 variantsare believed to be a cause of increased concentration of protein fragments that contribute towards the formation of amyloid plaques. This, in return, may breakdown the vital connections between neurons which is an early sign of Alzheimer’s disease.
This amazing research is possible because of amyloid PET brain imaging that helped to detect the deposits of amyloid in the brain which is known to be the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s. This warning appears 10 or 15 years earlier before the appearance of any symptom of the disease.
But the occurrence of disease due to inherited genes is rare. Therefore, researchers have been finding the exact cause of the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
Genes linked with Amyloid Accumulation
To identify the genes that are linked to amyloid accumulation, a new study was done to examine the genomes ofpeople whose PET images showed amyloid accumulation in the brain but who had nosigns& symptoms of Alzheimer’s yet.
This study included approximately 4,300 people who did not have symptoms of the disease but their brains already had a significant amount of amyloid deposition, detected by PET imaging with the help of amyloid tracers.
This analysis uncovered a fact that there was a strong connection between the presence of amyloid deposits andAPOE & RBFOX1.APOE is usually known as Alzheimer’s gene while RBFOX1 is a novel gene.
The study revealed that about 10% of people under observations had RBFOX1 variants that were linked with the appearance of amyloid deposits. The minimal amount of RBFOX1 in the brain seemed to be linked with increased amyloid plaques and cognitive decline during life.
Treatment and Prevention of Alzheimer’s
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and there is no treatment option to stop or slow down the disease.However, there are still some drug and non-drug methods available that may help to treat and lessen the symptoms. It is necessary for people living with the disease and their caretakers to have a better understanding of accessible therapies so that they may cope with signs & symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Bear in mind, you cannot prevent this deteriorating disease. However, you can do lifestyle modifications to reduce the risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s syndrome. You should considerthe following evidence-based alternations in your life so you can lower your risk of getting Alzheimer’s:
- Exercise daily to minimize the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Improve your diet and include healthy oils and foods that are low in saturated fats, for instance,the Mediterranean diet is recommended by health experts.
- Try to maintain your blood pressure, cholesterol level, and blood glucose levels.
- If you are a smoker, then try to quit smoking as soon as possible to save yourself from the disease.
Also, you should consider some habits that require your mental and social engagement because studies reveal that participating in activities like reading, playing board and puzzle games, painting, etc will preserve your cognitive skills and you will have a lesser chance of acquiring Alzheimer’s disease.