Researchers from the Douglas Mental Health Institute and McGill University have discovered that a relatively frequent genetic variant actually conveys significant protection against the common form of Alzheimer’s disease and can delay the onset of the disease by as much as 4 years. This discovery opens new avenues for treatment against this devastating disease.
The team announced their findings at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen. This large-scale study identified naturally occurring genetic variants that provide protection against the common form of Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of identifying specific biological processes amenable to pharmaceutical interventions.
The researchers found that specific genetic variants in a gene called HMG CoA reductase which normally regulates cholesterol production and mobilization in the brain can interfere with, and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by nearly 4 years. This is an exciting breakthrough by a team whose previous research led to the discovery that a genetic variant was formally associated with the common form of Alzheimer’s disease.
These latest genetic results from the team are an important step forward in the understanding of Alzheimer’s disease neurobiology, and also the use of genetics to identify an interesting new molecular target that is amenable to therapeutic development. Over the past two decades, research efforts around the globe have focused on identifying genetic and environmental factors responsible for causing or accelerating the progression of the common form of Alzheimer’s disease. However, little was known about possible protective genetic factors that can delay or even prevent the disease onset in humans. It is well documented that a subset of older individuals who happen to be carriers of predisposing genetic factors for the common form of Alzheimer’s manage to escape the disease and live long and productive lives without any memory problems until their 90’s.
Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.
Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.
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Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.
Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.
An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.