Taken for the Guardian Newspaper
SCIENTISTS are a step closer to developing new treatments for dementia after discovering genes responsible for how our brains work as we age.
The study revealed that genetic signals that increase the risk of developing dementia
Some 850,000 Britons have the brain disease but this could soar to 4.5 million in 40 years.
Using DNA data from 54,000 people, aged over 45, all over the world researchers pinpointed genetic signals that make them more likely to develop dementia.
Experts hope further studies can be carried out on the “biological mechanisms” which make these genes work.
These small genetic signals are like the first lights on a distant shore
The study, published in Molecular Psychiatry, uncovered small signals from four genetic regions associated with thinking skills.
Professor Ian Deary said: “We knew that general thinking skills in older age were heritable to some extent, but we did not know which genes were involved.
“These small genetic signals are like the first lights on a distant shore.”
James Goodwin, head of research at Age UK, which part funded the study, said: “These findings are a real breakthrough – for the first time identifying genes that influence the way our brains work in older age.”