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Updated 12/29/2018 – 09:02
A Chinese research team has identified a version of a gene that plays a vital role in the development of Alzheimer's disease in China's largest ethnic group, Han.
The study was recently published in the National Science Review, an English-language journal affiliated with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ACCH).
Alzheimer's disease is a continuous and irreversible change of mind that slowly destroys memory, cognitive abilities and even the ability to perform simple tasks. The disease affects about 48 million people worldwide, a figure likely to increase as the population ages. The disease has no cure.
The emergence and development of the disease depends on genetic and environmental factors, and it inherits up to 79% of the cases.
Previous studies have found genes involved in the early appearance of the Alzheimer's family, which was diagnosed before the age of 65, and only 5 percent of the cases. Scientists believe that there are other genes involved and yet to be discovered.
New genome studies have identified several Alzheimer's genes in European populations, but most of them are unverifiable in Chinese populations.
A genetic sequence of 107 Alzheimer's patients diagnosed before age 55 or with family history allowed researchers from the Kunming Institute of Zoology, dependent on ACCH, to find a rare version, identified as rs3792646, in C7. They then confirmed the association of this version with the disease in 368 cases to the east and southwest of China.
In addition, the experts used data from brain images that showed that patients with this risk had a significantly lower volume of the right hippocampus, a very important part of the brain, and worse memory at the onset of adulthood than healthy people. This finding suggests that variant can affect brain structure and function several decades before the disease is expressed.
Subsequent studies have shown that excessive expression of the variant may inhibit cellular viability, immune activity, and neuronal activity.
The variant is apparently Chinese, the researchers concluded after analyzing genomic sequence data from 812 European patients.