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expert reaction to study looking at a method attempting to identify people at greater genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease before any symptoms appear

A study published in PLOS Genetics looks at the use of a genetic risk score for Alzheimer’s disease.


Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease comes down to a complex mix of our age, genetics and lifestyle.  The disease begins in the brain up to two decades before symptoms start to show and many researchers believe this is a critical time in which potential drugs are likely to have the best chance of success.  Current ways of identifying people at greatest risk of Alzheimer’s are often based on a single genetic factor and mean that clinical trials for new treatments are not as efficient as they could be.

“By evaluating 7.1million gene variants, the team developed a more comprehensive genetic risk score for Alzheimer’s.  This genetic risk score, like others that have been developed previously, is unlikely to be useful for screening people for Alzheimer’s or supporting an early diagnosis, but it could help to recruit people with early Alzheimer’s into clinical trials.

“The researchers used their genetic risk scores to identify proteins whose levels changed in people at a high risk of the disease.  Several of the proteins they identified have not been studied in Alzheimer’s research, and they may help to unlock new understanding of what causes the disease, provide new targets for future drugs, or have potential as biological markers that could help to identify people in the early stages.

“To realise the potential of these new discoveries it is critical researchers follow up these findings with more research.”



‘Neurocognitive trajectory and proteomic signature of inherited risk for Alzheimer’s disease’ by Manish D. Paranjpe et al. was published in PLOS Genetics at 19:00 UK time on Thursday 1 September 2022.

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1010294



Declared interests

No reply to our request for DOIs was received.

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