Her Genes Said She Would Get Early Onset Alzheimer’s In Her 40s. She Didn’t. Her Brain May Help Unlock Mysteries of the Disease.
A bittersweet story from the NY Times.
“Aliria Rosa Piedrahita de Villegas carried a rare genetic mutation that had all but guaranteed she would develop Alzheimer’s disease in her 40s. But only at age 72 did she experience the first symptoms of it. Her dementia was not terribly advanced when she died from cancer on Nov. 10, a month shy of her 78th birthday, in her daughter’s home on a hillside that overlooks the city.
Neurology investigators at the University of Antioquia in Medellín, led by Dr. Francisco Lopera, have followed members of Ms. Piedrahita de Villegas’s vast extended family for more than 30 years, hoping to unlock the secrets of early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.”
Alzheimer’s is an incredibly tough nut to crack, scientifically. Being able to examine the brain of a person whose genes seemed to indicate they were destined to suffer from Alzheimer’s at a very early age, but who seemed to buck the odds for decades, could shed tremendous light on exactly how the disease progresses.
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