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Researchers have found that the APOE gene causes the brain's sectional vulnerability to Alzheimer's.

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Peeyush Ghalot
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(Photo Courtesy: - MDPI)

Researchers have discovered why specific regions of the brain are more susceptible to Alzheimer's damage than others. The most important genetic risk factor for illness is the APOE gene. In regions that experience the most destruction, APOE is most active. Everyone possesses some form of the APOE gene, however those who have the APOE4 variant have an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease by up to 12 times and earlier onset than the general population. The results of the study, which were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, shed light on an aspect of Alzheimer's disease that has received little attention and raises the possibility that yet-to-be-identified biological mechanisms may play a significant role in the disease. They also helped explain why symptoms of Alzheimer's disease can occasionally vary. Memory loss is frequently the first sign of progressive brain tissue deterioration, which is then followed by confusion and difficulties thinking. Protein clusters that are toxic first gather in the memory region of the brain before moving on to regions crucial for planning and thinking. However, there are certain uncommon and atypical forms of Alzheimer's in which people first experience language or visual issues before memory issues, according to senior author of the study Brian A. Gordon. Amyloid beta, a protein found in the brain, is the first factor in Alzheimer's disease. Two or more decades before people experience their first neurological issues, the protein begins to accumulate into plaques. Tau tangles, another brain protein, start to form after years of amyloid buildup. Cognitive impairment follows shortly after tissues in the affected areas start to wilt and perish. Gordon and colleagues looked at 350 volunteers for memory and ageing research through the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the School of Medicine to better understand why Alzheimer's brain damage occurs where it does. The Allen Human Brain Atlas is a comprehensive map of gene expression in the human brain created by the Allen Institute for Brain Science. The researchers compared patterns of protein clumps and tissue damage in volunteers to the gene expression patterns of APOE and other genes associated with Alzheimer's disease.  

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