A new study shows a possible genetic link between three of the most feared neurological diseases in seniors: Alzhiemer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Lewy Body Dementia.
“In a study led by National Institutes of Health researchers, scientists found that five genes may play a critical role in determining whether a person will suffer from Lewy body dementia, a devastating disorder that riddles the brain with clumps of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies. Lewy bodies are also a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease. The results, published in Nature Genetics, not only supported the disease’s ties to Parkinson’s disease but also suggested that people who have Lewy body dementia may share similar genetic profiles to those who have Alzheimer’s disease.”
This is somewhat surprising, since Parkinson’s symptoms are motor neuron-based, while Alzheimer’s expresses more as a cognitive decline. The fact that both are connected via Lewy Body Dementia goes counter to many theories of the roots of each condition.
It will be years – at best – before this genetic link produces any substantive changes in how we treat these conditions, but more knowledge is always a good thing.
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