New Gene May Predict Onset of Alzheimer's

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 12, 2009 7:30 PM CDT
Scientists at Duke University today unveiled a new gene that could help identify when Alzheimers' symptoms will set in.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A newly unveiled gene linked to Alzheimer's disease could help determine when symptoms of the brain disorder will arise, the News & Observer reports. A team of Duke University scientists announced their finding today at a Vienna conference. “As soon as people start forgetting things, they want to know if they will get Alzheimer’s disease,” Allen Roses, who led the team, tells Bloomberg. “That is what we are getting at."

Roses calls the discovery "a bigger deal" than his earlier discovery of the APOE gene, which accounts for 30%-50% of late-onset Alzheimer's. The new genetic variant, Tomm40, could help diagnose 85% of inherited Alzheimer's and identify when it will start, Roses says. "While this doesn’t say everyone will get Alzheimer’s disease at these ages, it is meaningful."