Findings published recently in the journal Nature Genetics identify three genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease, the first major finding of its kind since the discovery since the apolipoprotein E gene APOE4 was identified in 1993. Rather than looking for another gene that has the same size effect as APOE4, scientists looked for common variants of genes that might have more subtle influences, assuming that any other genes with effects that major would have been discovered by now. Several research groups were involved in the findings, discussed further in this US News article.
As geneticists come closer to finding the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s important to remember that your genes are only part of your risk factors. An article earlier this month in Neurology provided further evidence of the positive impact that brain training can have. Summarized here on Science Daily, the study found that those who participated in one of the following activities daily – reading, writing, doing crossword puzzles, playing board or card games, having group discussions, and playing music – delayed the onset of rapid memory loss in those that developed dementia by almost 1/5 of a year for each activity.