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. In such a scenario when memory loss is becoming a big problem in the United States the findings of a new study has come as a major breakthrough.
The scientists have discovered a potential gene expression that could be key to treating memory related problems.
The researchers at the University of California, San Francisco and the Glandstone Institute have found that about 20 percent of the population carries this gene expression, which is a natural protector against Alzheimer’s disease.
The gene expression is called KLOTHO gene. Its variant KL-VS helps in lowering the risk of age-related heart diseases and stroke by producing klotho protein.
The study involved more than 700 people who were in the age group 52 to 85. 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.
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 scientists are hopeful that the recent discovery may act as a breakthrough in treating memory related diseases and produce tools for increasing and retaining intelligence in individuals with cognitive decline.
The researchers arrived at the conclusion following rigourous study and in-depth research for three years period.
According to Alzheimer’s Disease International, , around 44.4 million people have dementia in 2013 and this number is expected to increase to 75.6 million by 2030 and almost double the number in 2050.
The disease is the sixth leading killer in our country, the Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures report says.
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.