Research Spots Gene That Raises Alzheimer’s Risk for Women

Alzheimer's Risk for Women

Pointers at Glance

  • Gene researchers spotted a new gene, MGMT, involved in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • This MGMT increases the risk of common dementia in women.
  • Additional study is needed to understand why MGMT influences the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women.

Researchers studying genes have identified a new gene called ‘MGMT’ involved in Alzheimer’s disease. This new gene increases the risk of common dementia in women.

Lindsay Farrer, co-senior study author & chief of biomedical genetics at Boston University School of Medicine, said that this is one of a few and perhaps the strongest associations of a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s that is particular to women.


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Datasets Analyzed For The Study

A team from the Boston University School of Medicine and the University of Chicago examined genetic links using two unrelated datasets and distinct methods in the new study. One of the datasets was from a large family of Hutterites, a central European group whose isolated culture and small gene pool have made it a popular focus for studying genetic determinants of disease. All the members studied for Alzheimer’s in this data were women.

The other dataset analyzed was the genetic data from a pool of 10,340 women who lacked APOE4. That gene is carried by about 60% of people with European ancestry and about 26% of the general population. The new gene MGMT was primarily associated with developing Alzheimer’s disease from both data sets.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting over 5.8 million people in the United States. Additional study will be necessary to understand why the new gene MGMT influences Alzheimer’s Risk for Women. However, the authors mentioned that the study illustrates the importance of searching for risk factors that may be specific to one gender.

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