Scientists have tracked down mutations in a specific gene factor that predict the speed at which memory will deteriorate in Alzheimer patients. The gene in question codes for a neural growth factor. The report was published in Neurology on May 5.
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer’s is a degenerative disease that leads to steady loss of memory and decline in ability to perform daily activities among older adults. The condition is characterised by the build-up of beta-amyloid plaques outside of nerve cells and tau tangles inside neurons.
It is known that these proteins are associated with the pathology of the disease but there is scarce little knowledge about its genesis and progress. It is very difficult to detect it early and treatment is still a far cry.
The latest publication, which points to an early marker of the disease, is the result of investigations by a team of researchers from University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison. The researchers’ study focused on a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein coded by a gene of the same name.