Two teams of European scientists say they have discovered new genetic variants associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The variants account for about 20 percent of the genetic risk of the disease, and may lead to a better understanding of its biology, the scientists say.
One of the teams, led by Julie Williams of Cardiff University in Wales, scanned the genomes of about 19,000 patients, the largest study so far conducted on Alzheimer’s, and turned up two variants that have a statistically significant association with the disease. A second study, led by Philippe Amouyel of the University of Lille in France, also found two variants, one of which is the same as detected by the Cardiff team.
The fact that two studies could agree on at least one gene is an advance. More than 550 genes have been proposed in various small-scale studies as the cause of Alzheimer’s, but all have failed the test of replication by others, Dr. Amouyel said.
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