In DepthGenetics

Rare case offers clues to staving off Alzheimer's

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Science  08 Nov 2019:
Vol. 366, Issue 6466, pp. 674
DOI: 10.1126/science.366.6466.674

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Summary

At the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Chicago, Illinois, last month, researchers presented the latest results from these efforts to re-create vision—some of them already being tested in human trials. In 2016, a 73-year-old woman from Medellín, Colombia, flew to Boston so researchers could scan her brain, analyze her blood, and pore over her genome. She carried a genetic mutation that had caused many in her family to develop dementia in middle age. But for decades, she had avoided the disease. The researchers now report that another rare mutation—this one in the well-known Alzheimer's disease risk gene APOE—may have protected her. They can't prove this mutation alone staved off disease. But the study draws new attention to the possibility of preventing or treating Alzheimer's by targeting APOE—an idea some researchers say has spent too long on the sidelines.

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