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Memory in Adults Impacted by Versions of Four Genes
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012 7:28 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: SFGate) - Two research studies, co-led by neurologist Charles DeCarli and conducted by an international team has advanced understanding of the genetic components of Alzheimer's disease and of brain development.

The first study, based on a genetic analysis of more than 9,000 people, has found that certain versions of four genes may speed shrinkage of a brain region involved in making new memories. The brain area, known as the hippocampus, normally shrinks with age, but if the process speeds up, it could increase vulnerability to Alzheimer's disease, the research suggests.


The gene variants identified in the first study do not cause Alzheimer's, but they may rob the hippocampus of a kind of "reserve" against the disease, which is known to cause cell destruction and dramatic shrinkage of this key brain site. The result is severe loss of memory and cognitive ability.


The second paper identifies two genes associated with intracranial volume - the space within the skull occupied by the brain when the brain is fully developed in a person's lifespan, usually around age 20.


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