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Genetic Factors Prevent Memory Loss In Patients With Alzheimer’s Disease; Genes Also Predisposes Others To Have It

Update Date: Nov 29, 2016 09:50 AM EST
An Alzheimer's patient is shaved by his daughter at his house in Yarumal, north of Antioquia department, Colombia on December 3, 2014.
Yarumal holds one of the highest rates of Alzheimer's disease.

(Photo : RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP/Getty Images)

There may be genetic factors at play that can protect people with Alzheimer's Disease from memory loss. However, genes are also to blame that predispose a family in Colombia to the disease, having afflicted many extended family members with Alzheimer's.

A new small study was conducted on people over 90-years-old to test their cognitive functions while they were still living. A significant number exhibited sharp memories despite having traces of Alzheimer's Disease upon examining their brains post-mortem.

The test subjects in the cognitive tests also donated their brains for further study. Medical researchers looked into the brains of those who still have good memories. Out of eight cases, three have shown to have telltale signs of Alzheimer's Disease with visible plaques and tangles, Live Science reported.

However, upon looking into the hippocampus, the region of the brain that is responsible for forming memories, the nerve cells were discovered to be intact and normal. This is a surprising discovery since the onset of plaques and tangles is often followed by nerve cells damage in the brain.

The normal nerve cells may be responsible for the good memories exhibited by the patients. There may also be genetic factors at play, which protects patients with Alzheimer's from experiencing memory loss.

Diet and the amount of exercise may also be related. However, more research is still needed to establish this link.

Meanwhile, a family in a remote village in Colombia is beleaguered by Alzheimer's disease, having afflicted several extended family members as reported in CBS News. Genetic mutations account for 100 percent incidence of developing the disease, which manifests in the mid-40s and death comes ten years later.

A groundbreaking multi-million dollar study is now in the works to further investigate the genetic mutation and understand the workings of the disease. The Colombia clinical trial may pave the way for the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease. 

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