The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our just-released 2019 Annual Report.

‘Race’ may affect the way Alzheimer’s attacks the brain

Research on Alzheimer’s has mainly focused on Caucasians. New findings, however, suggest the disease process that leads to dementia may differ in African–Americans. According to a study published [January 7] in JAMA Neurology, the brains of African–Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have less buildup of a protein called tau—one of the two hallmark proteins that characterize the disease.

It is not clear why African–Americans would have less tau while still suffering from Alzheimer’s, says neurologist John Morris, who led the research. But the finding is significant because it means the medical community needs to exercise caution when defining Alzheimer’s by measures of tau buildup alone. The study also suggests race might affect other aspects of the disease’s pathology.

Related article:  Creating rare marijuana compounds with GM yeast could lead to a 'blockbuster drug or two'

The study also found that a variant of a gene called APOE4, which confers a high risk of Alzheimer’s in whites, seemed to be less of a peril for African–Americans. The latter tended to have much lower tau levels if they had the APOE4 variant, suggesting they suffered less neurological damage because of the lesser tau exposure.

If lower levels of the tau protein mean a patient has less Alzheimer’s-related damage to the brain, as research suggests, African–Americans with these relatively low levels might be more responsive to drugs that are being developed to attack amyloid.

Read full, original post: Alzheimer’s Attack on the Brain May Vary with Race

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Click the link above to read the full, original article.
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend