Allison Elliott-Shannon

By

College: Medicine

Gene Discovery Offers New Path for Alzheimer's Research

Published: Jul 9, 2013

LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 9, 2013) - The following column appeared in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Sunday, July 7.

 

By Dr. Gregory Jicha

 

A new gene variant has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and this association is strongest among elderly blacks.

 

Though not the first gene to be linked to the condition, the identification of this gene variant is a breakthrough, as it reveals another way Alzheimer’s may be triggered in the brain.

 

We in the medical profession have known for a long time that blacks over the age of 65 have a greater chance of developing Alzheimer's disease than do Caucasian adults the same age.  Researchers have identified a gene (ABCA7) that helps explain this increased risk in African Americans, according to a recent report in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The report, based on a large government-funded study, not only sheds new light on why African Americans are at increased risk for the disease, but also offers a possible new focus of future research in the battle against Alzheimer's.
 

ABCA7 is linked to production and metabolism of cholesterol and lipids. We have known for years that vascular problems stemming from high cholesterol and atherosclerosis seem to increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. This discovery supports previous evidence that vascular health may be a particular contributor to the development of Alzheimer’s among blacks. But we have also seen evidence that Alzheimer's is influenced by other genes, as well as by environmental factors and lifelong health habits. Taking this new evidence into consideration, it appears that there may be multiple mechanisms that control the onset and progression of this devastating disease.

 

From this evidence, it appears that there are variations of Alzheimer’s disease, with different causes - much like different types of cancer. If this is true, the treatment an individual receives may need to be tailored to the particular variant of the disease that they have. At this time, it is not recommended that individuals seek genetic testing for Alzheimer’s because the relationship between the gene variants and the disease has not been firmly established. Many people have an associated gene variant, but do not go on to develop Alzheimer’s.
 

Approximately five million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer’s disease; this number is expected to more than triple by the year 2050, when the disease will cost $1.1 trillion annually. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is the only disease among the top ten killers that has no effective treatment.

 

The discovery of ABCA7 provides us with a clear strategy for trying to reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s in all of us, but most importantly for blacks. It shows the need to control your cholesterol and vascular risk factors. At the UK Alzheimer Disease Center/Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, we have recently been awarded two National Institute of Health grants focused on doing exactly this. These two studies are looking for volunteers with or without memory problems that want to lower their risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

 

For more information on how you can get involved, please call Sarah at (859) 323-1331. Start lowering your risk today!


Dr. Jicha is the McCowan Endowed Chair in Alzheimer Research at the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.

jicha_gregory-3.jpg
October
 
 
 
1
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Wed
2
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Thu
3
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Fri
4
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Sat
5
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Sun
6
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Mon
7
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Tue
8
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Wed
9
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Thu
10
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Fri
11
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Sat
12
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Sun
13
 
Mon
14
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Wed
16
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Fri
18
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Sat
19
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Sun
20
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Mon
21
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Tue
22
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Wed
23
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Fri
25
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
26
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
Sun
27
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Kentucky Men's Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage
Mon
28
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Tue
29
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Wed
30
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
Thu
31
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Fri
 
Oct 22
Study Tips for Medical School 10/22/2014
Reset Page