Scientists find unique risk of Alzheimer’s disease in Ashkenazi Jews

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The Issue: Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease, or AD, is a common disease around the globe that affects people’s memory and thinking skills.

However, most of the scientific research on this disease has been done on people of European ancestry.

A Unique Population: Ashkenazi Jews

The Ashkenazi Jews, who used to live in Eastern Europe, are a unique group of people. For many years, they were quite isolated from their neighbors who were not Jewish.

This isolation led to them being different from a genetic point of view.

Scientists from Boston University believed that because of this, they could find specific gene variants, or changes, that make people more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease.

What They Did: A Genome-Wide Association Study

The scientists carried out a special kind of research called a genome-wide association study.

They did this study on about 3,500 Ashkenazi Jewish people, half of whom had Alzheimer’s and half of whom did not.

They compared these people’s genes to those of a reference sample of Ashkenazi Jews.

What They Found: Known and New Genetic Risk Factors

Through this study, they found several genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s. These risk factors are certain genes that can increase a person’s chance of getting the disease.

They found some that were already known, like APOE and TREM2. But they also found new ones, like RAB3, SMAP2, ZNF890P, SPOCK3, and GIPR.

Why This is Important

This study is important because it shows that looking at the genes of smaller, more similar groups of people, like the Ashkenazi Jews, can be very useful in understanding diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Even though some of the genetic changes they found might be rare or even nonexistent in other groups of people, understanding them could help us understand Alzheimer’s better in general.

The researchers believe that studying these genes could lead to new ways of detecting Alzheimer’s and new treatments for the disease.

This could be a big step forward in fighting Alzheimer’s, which affects so many people around the world.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about the blood test that can predict dementia, Alzheimer’s 5 years early, and one year of this exercise training may reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information about Alzheimer’s, please see recent studies that Coconut oil may help improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s, and results showing strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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