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It’s one of the big questions surrounding the disease that we don’t have an answer to yet. Researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine have found something that may help explain this.
Most people with Alzheimer’s disease first develop damage – caused by a buildup of proteins – in the memory area of the brain. This is usually followed by areas that drive thinking and planning.
To find out why this happens in most cases, they studied the brains of 350 people in this study, and compared patterns of protein accumulation with patterns of gene expression. For example, they saw that regions where the APOE gene is most active also show a lot of protein buildup and tissue damage.
This applies to more genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. They also saw these in similar patterns in the areas of the brain where the damage first occurred.
Almost everyone carries a variant of these genes, but with some variants – for example the APOE4 gene – carriers have a higher chance of developing damage. They also saw it in the search.
It does not say everything quickly, for example, there are also atypical forms in which other areas are the first to be affected, but in the case of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, everything we can learn about its origin is important.