New Gene Discovery Could Explain Why More Women Get Alzheimer’s

Boston, US, Scientists have identified a gene that appears to increase the risk of Alzheimer's in women, providing a potential new clue as to why more women than men are diagnosed with the disease.

The gene, O6-Methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase, or MGMT, plays an important role in how the body repairs damage to DNA in both men and women, but researchers did not find an association between MGMT and Alzheimer's in men.

"It's a female-specific finding -- perhaps one of the strongest associations of a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's in women," said senior study coauthor Lindsay Farrer, chief of biomedical genetics at Boston University School of Medicine.

More women getting Alzheimer’s is a trend that is indicated all over the world.

The findings indicate that the APOE e4 gene is considered the strongest risk factor for the future development of Alzheimer's in people over the age of 65, which is more likely true for women, who are more impacted by APOE e4 than men.

However, many women with APOE e4 don't develop Alzheimer's, while women without the gene may still develop the disease.

The discovery of the new gene's existence was made in two completely separate groups of people. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago were analyzing the genetic makeup of a small group of women who live communally in rural Montana and South Dakota.

The combined study which reached those findings was published today in the Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

At some point soon, scientists will be able to offer more personalized medicine to women, said Dr. Kellyann Niotis, a neurologist at the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, who was not involved with the study. Niotis added that soon it will be possible to offer women at risk with more advanced assessments, like comprehensive genetic testing in a clinic setting, to thoroughly assess the risk and develop personalized risk reduction plans to protect the brain, the CNN news reported.

Source: Oman News Agency