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New Genetic Discovery Offers Hope for Successful Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment


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British experts have found that an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s, the most common dementia, could be available for 20 years.

A team at Cardiff University has identified 92 genes that significantly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, while only three genes were known when their study began in 2009, signifying exponential growth in information about the disease.

Professor Julie Williams, director of the Cardiff Dementia Centre, said: “I think by 2040 we will be able to offer a range of treatments and we may not know the exact cause, but one of them will be able to deal with a wide range of causes.”

Gene therapy and greater understanding from international research are helping to increase expertise on amnesia, which is the most common type of dementia and is not known to have effective drugs or treatments or to slow its symptoms.

Professor Williams, who was awarded a CBE for her work, explained, “Once you know where to start looking, you can study how genes influence certain brain activity.”

“Things are accelerating and improving all the time,” said Williams, who has studied Alzheimer’s disease for 30 years. “I’ve learned more in the last seven years than in the last 20 years.”

Tests that cost millions in the 1990s can be done for around £30. The breakthrough in the study means that experts have found that microglia mistakenly kill healthy brain cells, including synapses.

Synapses are connections between nerve cells, and if discarded unnecessarily, they can cause a person to lose the connections that generate thoughts and memories.

But Professor Williams told the BBC that after studying thousands of cases, she realized that there would be no single weapon. Instead, the disease should be viewed as a heart disease in which many factors are involved, and many treatments will help delay and prevent it.

Some drugs are already licensed for use in other Alzheimer’s conditions and may be available for five years.

Source: Daily Mail

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