alzheimer’s disease genes
Recent work by U.S. and European consortia has uncovered five more Alzheimer’s genes, bringing the total associated with late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to ten. The work was published in the April issue of Nature Genetics (the Gerald Schellenberg paper; the Julie Williams paper; a note about planned collaboration between the consortia). These discoveries have received a lot of press (e.g., New York Times; Time; WebMD). As is common, most of the stuff directed to non-specialists has focussed on relatively unimportant aspects of the work, such as how it was conducted, where it was conducted, who conducted it, and how it will impact the field.
I’d like to focus on other aspects. I’ll summarize the results, and will describe what, if anything, is known about the genes that were discovered. What do they? How do they increase risk, or afford protection? Actually I probably won’t answer these since they probably have not been answered, but I’ll describe whatever is known. I’m also very curious about the methodologies used in these studies, not only in terms of the genetics, but also the technological and mathematical aspects. Last thing, what are the next steps, what work is underway or planned that builds on these results.