Mayo researchers find gene linked to Alzheimer's - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Mayo researchers find gene linked to Alzheimer's

ROCHESTER Minn. (KTTC) -- A group of researchers, including some from the Mayo Clinic, is announcing research that better identifies people at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

The research out today in the New England Journal of Medicine is being called the most potent genetic risk factor discovered in the last twenty years.

The research identifies a rare variant of a gene that increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The variant, called R47H, only appears in less than 0.4 percent of the general population, but nearly two percent of Alzheimer's patients.

At Madonna Towers in Rochester, nearly half the patients deal with some sort of memory loss, and officials there say this kind of research can change they way they treat the disease.

"If we can head off some of the decline with Alzheimer's and figure out where it's going and help better deal with it, then our whole healthcare system will be better off," said Dave Schmitter, the director of nursing at Madonna Towers.

Researchers say this gene is often passed down through generations and identifying it in young, healthy people could lead to better information about how to prevent the disease.

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