New Iceland discovery offers Alzheimer’s hints
A genetic picture of the Icelandic population has aided scientists to discover rare gene patterns linked with common diseases like Alzheimer’s. A team of researches working with deCOD, a genetics company in Reykjavik, Iceland, found the genetic information of 2,636 Icelanders. One thing that their data disclosed was that rare variants of a gene called ABCA7 doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, the team says online March 25 in one series of papers Nature Genetics. The study’s coauthor Kári Stefánsson, a neurologist at the University of Iceland explained that ABCA7 variants can inactivate this gene which seems to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. In another report, Stefánsson and his colleagues identified Icelanders with the genetic variants. They found out that the variant blocked the gene’s ability to make a functional protein. The most affected were the ones with smell discrimination which probably tells why some people with Alzheimer’s lose their sense of smell when the disease inhibits them. While the data may be limited right now, we are getting closer and closer to a possible solution.