Cardiff and Pennsylvania lead way in Alzheimer’s disease research

Scientists at Cardiff University and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have discovered five genes that raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. This now brings the number of genes linked to the disease to ten.

The discovery was made when scientists compared the genetic makeup of tens of thousands of patients with those of healthy volunteers. It is believed that a person’s genes account for between 60% and 80% of their likelihood of developing dementia in later life, with lifestyle and environmental factors accounting for the remainder.

Julie Williams of Cardiff University said, “If we could eliminate the detrimental effects of all ten variants, we would eliminate 60% of Alzheimer’s disease”.

It is hoped that a better understanding of how genes cause Alzheimer’s disease will help scientists to identify drugs or lifestyle changes that may help prevent the disease.