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New Genes That Contribute to Alzheimer's Disease Discovered

September 8, 2009

A breakthrough in understanding who gets Alzheimer's Disease and how they get it.

European scientists say they've discovered a new set of genes that contribute to Alzheimer's Disease, the most common form of dementia.

The genes CLU and Picalm were identified by comparing DNA from thousands of European and Americans with and without Alzheimer's Disease.

Researchers hope the newly discovered genes may one day become part of a broad genetic test to predict a person's risk for Alzheimer's.

"It's an opportunity to better understand why Alzheimer's Disease impacts people the way it does, and why it doesn't impact other people," says Sue Bell Friedman, President of the Alzheimer's Association in Charlottesville. "It gives us a better opportunity to give treatments to stop, prevent and, of course, more ways to diagnose."

The study is published in the Journal "Nature Genetics".

Some researchers are confident that a first generation of drugs that will slow or block the spread of disease is not far away.

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