Alzheimer’s Researchers Focus On Paisa Mutation Carriers.

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In a 3,800-word article, the Arizona Republic (2/15, Alltucker) reported that scientists are studying families in the Medellin and District of Antioquia areas of Colombia who suffer from early onset Alzheimer’s. Almost 20 years ago, researchers “traced the cause to a single genetic mutation passed from generation to generation.” That mutation is known as the paisa mutation. In that region, some “26 extended clans of about 5,000 people…are known carriers,” forming “the largest known familial cluster of early-onset Alzheimer’s in the world.” These families are now taking part in a trial that will test them for the genetic mutation and then give them a medication to treat Alzheimer’s disease before any symptoms appear. The National Institutes of Health is assisting with study funding.

Mouse Study: Molecule May Delay Onset Of Alzheimer’s. The Guardian (UK) (2/16, Devlin) reported that a mouse study published Feb. 16 in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology suggests that “the onset of Alzheimer’s disease could be delayed by a molecule that occurs naturally in humans” called the Brichos molecule. The mouse study revealed that “the ‘housekeeping’ molecule put the brakes on a runaway process in the brain that leads to the most common form of dementia.” Apparently, the molecule appears to work “by slowing the accumulation of sticky clumps of protein in the brain, which typically appear years before symptoms such as memory loss become apparent in patients.” The Telegraph (UK) (2/17, Bingham) and the Daily Mail (UK) (2/17, Spencer) also cover the study.

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