In the largest Alzheimer's study ever conducted, an international research team identified 75 genes that can affect whether a person gets Alzheimer's or not. In the study, the researchers compared the genome of 100,000 Alzheimer's patients with the genome of 600,000 people who did not have the disease.
One of the results of the study was that the researchers identified 42 genes that had not previously been linked to Alzheimer's.
"This study more than doubles the number of genes we now know affect the risk of getting Alzheimer's. It provides new interesting goals for treatments and increases our ability to develop algorithms to predict who is at risk of developing Alzheimer's later in life", says Rebecca Sims, a researcher at Cardiff University in the UK and one of the researchers behind the study, in a press release.
Identifying the genes that affect the risk of developing Alzheimer's is important as the genes play a very big role.
"Lifestyle choices such as smoking, exercise and diet affect the development of Alzheimer's and here everyone can make choices that reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's. But 60-80 percent of the risk we can attribute to our genes", says Professor Julie Williams at Cardiff University and another of the researchers behind the study.
The study also shows that a protein, TNF-alpha, which plays an important role in inflammation, also affects the risk of developing Alzheimer's. In addition, a defect in the immune cells can increase the risk of Alzheimer's.
"The result strengthens our knowledge that Alzheimer's is an extremely complicated disease where many biological processes and cell types are involved. We reveal more and more of these processes every year and these results give us great opportunities to develop effective therapies", says Julie Williams.