Alzheimer’s is a chronic disease that damages your mental functions and ultimately leads to memory loss. The disease affects your brain connections that start to degrade due to the damage caused to the brain cells. This causes difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and language. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease which means that symptoms appear gradually over time as the disease becomes severe but a new gene that has been recently discovered may help predict your risk of contracting Alzheimer’s.
Rahul Desikan of the University of California who led the study explains that with the help of the new tool they can calculate the personalized developing Alzheimer’s disease given your age and genetic information. Most people with the Alzheimer’s only begin to show symptoms in their 60s, but this tool can helps in quicker diagnosis and better treatment.
The polygenic hazard score test has been created using genetic data from more than 70,000 individuals, including patients with Alzheimer’s disease and healthy elderly people. It uses 31 genetic markers to predict the age when the disease will appear. If you score high on the test, you are at a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s earlier in your life.
While the real cause of Alzheimer’s remains obscure, genetics is considered to play a critical role in the of the onset of Alzheimer’s. Most of the patients are seen to have a family history of the disease. More research is required before the test is actually made available for public use as the database used in this study mainly included people of European descent, and therefore they could not accurately predict the risk of Alzheimer’s in other ethnicities.