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Researchers may be closer to determining which individuals are at risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease, thanks to the discovery that a particular gene may cause the disease.
The study compared the DNA of individuals who developed the disease to DNA from those that didn't, and found a variant in one particular gene that signaled the presence of Alzheimer's.
Margaret Pericak-Vance, who led the research, said that the finding were important because this particular gene is also tied to the biomarker, homocysteine, which is also known to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's.
"Since the function of blood vessels in the brain may affect Alzheimer's disease, this finding may also help us understand how homocysteine levels and blood vessel function in the brain affects Alzheimer's," she said.
Pericac-Vance added that the findings may lead to a more accurate assessment of who is at risk of developing the disease.
Alzheimer's disease is currently the seventh most common cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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