Category Archives: DNA

Genetic variants cut Alzheimer’s disease risk – UCL

While there is no known ‘silver bullet’ for Alzheimer’s disease it appears that there may be some ‘luck of the draw’ genetic variants that help.

A DNA study of over 10,000 people by University College of London (UCL) scientists has identified a class of gene variants that appear to protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The findings, published in Annals of Human Genetics, suggest these naturally occurring gene variants reduce the functioning of proteins called tyrosine phosphatases, which are known to impair the activity of a cell signalling pathway known as PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β. This pathway is important for cell survival.

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The research builds on previous studies in mice and rats, which suggested inhibiting the function of these proteins might be protective against Alzheimer’s disease, but this is the first time such an effect has been demonstrated in people.

Researchers believe the PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β signalling pathway could be a key target for therapeutic drugs and the findings also strengthen evidence that other genes could be linked to either elevated or reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“These results are quite encouraging. It looks as though when naturally-occurring genetic variants reduce the activity of tyrosine phosphatases then this makes Alzheimer’s disease less likely to develop, suggesting that drugs which have the same effect might also be protective,” said the study’s lead author, Professor David Curtis (UCL Genetics Institute).

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Your DNA is not your destiny, nor a good predictor of your health – Study

A new study reports diseases such as cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes may have a genetic contribution of 5-10% at most. Source: University of Alberta

I can’t tell you how happy I was to learn this. I have had friends who threw up their hands when it came to living a healthy life. They said they failed because of their ‘bad genes.’ I always felt this was a cop out and total denial of responsibility and now it seems I was correct. Take responsibility.

In most cases, your genes have less than five percent to do with your risk of developing a particular disease, according to new research by University of Alberta scientists.

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The study also highlights some notable exceptions, including Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and macular degeneration, which have a genetic contribution of approximately 40 to 50 per cent. The image is in the public domain.

In the largest meta-analysis ever conducted, scientists have examined two decades of data from studies that examine the relationships between common gene mutations, also known as single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and different diseases and conditions. And the results show that the links between most human diseases and genetics are shaky at best.

“Simply put, DNA is not your destiny, and SNPs are duds for disease prediction,” said David Wishart, professor in the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences and the Department of Computing Science and co-author on the study. “The vast majority of diseases, including many cancers, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease, have a genetic contribution of 5 to 10 percent at best.” Continue reading

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