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
July
 
 
1
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
2
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
3
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
4
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
5
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
6
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Benday Dot Day
Sun
7
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
8
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
9
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
10
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
11
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
12
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
International Youth Water Justice Summit
Sat
13
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
14
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
15
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
16
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Dr. Greg Jicha)
Wed
17
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
18
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
19
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Color Water Balloon Fight
Sat
20
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Summer Salon: Landscape as Subject with Tom Barnes, Photographer
Sun
21
EPIC Ministry Weekly Gathering
Mon
22
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
23
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
24
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
25
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
26
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
27
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
28
 
Mon
29
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
30
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers (with Mary Crowley Schmidt)
Wed
31
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
 
 

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Fri, 07/25/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Sat, 07/26/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Sun, 07/27/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Tue, 07/29/2014

Repeats every day on May, June, July, August every Tuesday and every Wednesday and every Thursday and every Friday and every Saturday and on the first Sunday until Sun Aug 17 2014 .
Wed, 07/30/2014

Reset Page