Scientists Discover New Gene Responsible For High Risk Of Dementia In Women

Scientists have identified a novel gene that may put women at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

APOE ε4 allele responsible for Alzheimer’s disease 

The APOE ε4 allele has been the most well-known genetic variant to date that raises the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in adults over 65. About 60% of persons with European ancestry have this particular gene. Only one in four members of the general population have the APOE 4 allele, though.

This gap indicates that there remain genetic variations causing Alzheimer’s disease that need to be identified, according to scientists. In a recent study, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago discovered that the MGMT gene could also increase the chance of dementia developing.

The researchers found MGMT had a substantial correlation with the beginning of Alzheimer’s in two separate demographic populations. A sizable extended family of Hutterites, a pioneering ethnic group with central European origin that arrived in the American Midwest, made up the first genetic group. These people share a gene pool with the Amish and can trace their ancestry to the early 16th century.

In the second group, there were 10,340 women with APOE ε4 gene variant. The researchers have been studying the group to ascertain if there is a link between breast cancer and dementia. 

Scientists find Alzheimer’s gene risk factor specific to women

Senior author Lindsay Farrer said, “This is one of a few, and perhaps the strongest associations of a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s that is specific to women. This finding is particularly robust because it was discovered independently in two distinct populations using different approaches.”

Following the discovery of this link, the scientists looked at MGMT utilizing various biochemical information and other Alzheimer’s-related characteristics acquired from brain tissue. According to the findings, MGMT is involved in repairing DNA damage. However, it also shows a high relationship with the production of tau and amyloid- β in females.

These are two of the recognizable chemicals found in Alzheimer’s patient’s brains. These proteins can accumulate, forming dangerous plaques that obstruct and interfere with brain activity, impairing cognition.

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