Saturday, January 3, 2009

Alzheimer's gene 'linked to Vitamin D'
Scientists have found a new Alzheimer's gene they believe could affect how our bodies use a vital vitamin.

By Kate Devlin, Medical Correspondent
Researchers hope that the breakthrough could one day lead to new treatments for the devastating neurological condition.

They believe that the gene could be connected to how the brain uses vitamin D, a lack of which has been linked to memory problems.

Scientists have previously found that the onset of the devastating condition was linked to the apolipoprotein E gene.

However, this is a "weak" gene, whose influence would not be enough to cause the illness.

The study looked at the genes of 492 patients who suffered from Alzheimer's disease and compared these to genes from 498 people who did not have the condition.

The analysis was detailed enough to identify single variants within DNA cells which are more common in patients with Alzheimer's.

The variation is close to the gene which uses vitamin D in the brain and has previously been linked to memory, the findings, published in the American Journal of Human Genetics, show.

"It is possible that (this variation) is in a region that may play some sort of regulatory role ( the whole story

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