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Research finds new genes that play a part in Alzheimer's

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and European researchers have identified two new genes that may play a role in the development of Alzheimer's disease and could help unravel new treatments, a study published Tuesday said.

Researchers have now uncovered nine genes they believe are involved in the development of Alzheimer's Disease (AD), according to a study published in the May 12 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Identifying each of these new genes ... points to new biological pathways involved in the development of AD,” said senior author Sudha Seshadri, an associate professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine.

“Although such benefits are likely a decade away, studying these pathways should lead to new ways to postpone, prevent and perhaps treat the disease.”

The researchers were able to assemble the largest sample to date for their study by combining their data with previously-published material, creating a sample of 35,000 people, over 8,000 of whom developed Alzheimer's.

“This highly collaborative international effort enabled researchers to build the large sample size needed to identify elusive gene variants that may play a role in this devastating neurological disease,” said Marilyn Miller of the National Institute on Aging.

“Such collaborations are key to a fuller understanding of the many genetic factors that may contribute to overall risk for late onset Alzheimer's and how these genes affect the development of the disease.”

The National Institute on Aging is part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and helped fund the collection of data for the study, as well as its analysis.

It is estimated that one in five people aged 65 or older will develop Alzheimer's over the remainder of their lifetime.

Certain genetic variations are believed to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer's, which is more likely to affect people who have a family history of the disease.

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