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New gene associated with Alzheimer's disease

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 01 August 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:299
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    Researchers have uncovered intriguing new insights into the aetiology of the most common form of Alzheimer's disease.

    Most of those who succumb to Alzheimer's disease have the late onset form, and develop symptomsafter the age of 60. Yet much of what is known about the disease relates to the less common, earlyonset type, which only accounts for 10% of cases. The two new studies elucidate the complexity of late onset Alzheimer's disease (Nature Genetics 1998;19:321-2 and 357-360).

    Pathologically, Alzheimer's disease is characterised by the accumulation of neurofibrillary tangles and protein plaques of ß amyloid in the brain. These protein deposits are thought to disrupt cellular function and may themselves be byproducts of dying neurons. In brains without Alzheimer'sdisease, the amount of amyloid plaque is minimal.

    Scientists at the Massachusetts …

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