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Discovered: Rare gene that doubles Alzheimer's risk

DESERET NEWS 12/16/2013 -- A research collaboration led by Washington University has found a gene variation that doubles one's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. The finding adds to a rapidly accelerating body of information about the neurodegenerative disease, which affects more than 5 million Americans.

The findings are published online in the journal Nature."The newly identified variations, found in a gene never before linked to Alzheimer's, occur rarely in the population, making them hard for researchers to identify," according to the study's background information. "But they're important because individuals who carry these variations are at substantially increased risk of the disease.""Most of the genes that were discovered for Alzheimer's in the past two years have very minor effect," said John Kauwe, a biology professor at Brigham Young University who co-authored the study. He said that 19 of the "20-some-odd" genes linked to Alzheimer's in the last five years each affect risk by just 1 to 3 percent.

Deseret News