In what could be termed as a good news for approximately 1 in 5 people, scientists have discovered that these people carry a gene that can lessen the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.
The researchers at the University of California San Francisco and the Glandstone Institute have found that about 20 percent of the population carries a natural protector against Alzheimer’s disease. They say, it may be the hereditary trait which has come from klotho DNA.
The name of the DNA is taken from Greek mythology – klotho, who is one of the three sisters of destiny and rotates the thread of life.
The gene variant has effects on various biological systems. Moreover, it has the qualities to obstruct some processes related with aging.
The scientists hope that the latest discovery may help in treating memory related issues and produce tools for increasing and retaining intelligence in individuals with cognitive decline.
The scientists derived the conclusion after studying a variant of the Klothos gene, also called KL-VS. During the study, the researchers found that people who possessed the gene variant performed better on cognitive function tests. The findings were tested in mice. The study involved more than 700 people who were in the age group 52 to 85.
Lead author Lennart Mucke said, “Based on what was known about klotho, we expected it to affect the brain by changing the aging process. But this is not what we found, which suggested to us that we were on to something new and different.”
Mucke is director of neurological research at the Gladstone Institutes and professor of neurology and at UCSF.
The researchers say, every 67 seconds someone develops Alzheimer’s in the United States. And the most shocking is that 1 out of 6 women have a form of the disease by the age of 65.
According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report, the disease is the sixth leading killer in our country.
According to Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia will grow as the U.S. population of those age 65 and older increases.
Alzheimer’s affects patient’s memory, communication skills and their executive functions.
In 2014, it’s expected that $214 billion will be spent on people suffering from the disease or a form of it.
The study was published in the journal Cell Reports on May 8.