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DNA study insight into Alzheimer's

28th October 2013

The largest ever analysis of patients’ DNA is helping to create a clearer picture of what causes Alzheimer's disease.

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The DNA of 17,000 patients and 37,000 healthy people was analysed in an attempt to understand more about the causes and development of the disease.

The results have increased the number of genes which are known to be linked to the dementia to 21.

By looking at these genes, and the functions they serve in the body, it has also helped researchers to look into the processes that contribute to the development of the disease. The analysis has indicated that the immune system may play a strong role in the development of the disease.

Prof Williams, the head of neurodegeneration at Cardiff University commented that: "We've doubled the number of genes discovered and a very strong pattern is emerging.

"There is something in the immune response which is causing Alzheimer's disease and we need to look at that."

The study also suggested the way the body deals with cholesterol and the way cells in the brain deal with big molecules in a process called endocytosis also seem to be involved.

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