Rare gene variation associated with reduced risk of dementia

New research shows that a genetic variant of the PLCG2 gene may reduce the risk of developing some dementias and healthy ageing.

Research presented at Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) today shows that a genetic variant of the PLCG2, a gene previously associated with risk of Alzheimer’s Disease, may reduce the risk of developing some dementias and healthy ageing.

Dr Doug Brown, Chief Policy and Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society says:

'There are a whole host of small changes in genes that either slightly increase, or slightly decrease our risk of different types of dementia, and this research adds to what’s becoming an increasingly complex picture.

'We already knew that a genetic variation of the gene PLCG2, involved in the brain’s immune system, might reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, and now it looks like it could reduce the risk of two other types of dementia as well. On top of that, this particular gene seems to increase the chance of the brain ageing healthily.

'With 1 million people set to be living with dementia by 2021, this will be music to the ears of many, but it’s important not to get carried away, we still need more research to understand what these findings might mean for the treatment and prevention of dementia. 

'Preventing the development of dementia symptoms is the holy grail of research – if we can understand why some people are more or less at risk of dementia than others, we’re can start to find ways to reduce risk for everyone. Alzheimer’s Society researchers are working round the clock to make this a reality.'

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