Researchers have identified a specific set of genes that play a crucial role in maintaining regular memory and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This group of genetic molecules regulates the concentration of calcium ions within a cell – an essential factor that controls the various physiological and disease-related processes in the brain.
What Is Alzheimer’s– Understanding The Disease
Intact memory capacity is essential in daily life. The importance of this aspect becomes more apparent once a memory-related disorder begins to manifest. Among such age-related memory disorders, Alzheimer’s disease is the most prevalent. With increasing life expectancy, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is on the rise globally.
what is Alzheimer’s: Unfortunately, scientists have not developed an effective treatment for the disease, and nor have they been able to slow down its progression. Hence, understanding the origin of this neurodegenerative disease is the key to developing an efficient treatment regime.
Finding A Novel Genetic Basis
Scientists have previously established that genes are not only involved in sustaining and regulating memory performances, but are also associated with the development of Alzheimer’s. However, it was uncertain whether a specific set of genes was responsible for maintaining both processes.
Researchers from the trans-faculty research platform at the Psychiatric University Clinics Basel and the Faculty of Psychology at the University of Basel have now shown, via a large-scale study, that certain genes control various processes integral for normal brain functions, and also for the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. These deductions were made after collecting and analyzing data from more than 57,000 participants.
The Significance of Calcium
The most important finding of the study was regarding the role of calcium. The genes identified by the researchers regulate calcium concentrations within a cell, which are key players in physiological and disease development in the brain.
These calcium genes share a common association with normal memory maintenance in young and older (healthy) adults, along with the functioning of hippocampus (region in brain vital for intact memory). Moreover, these genes were found to be associated with a risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
These results contribute vital information to the intricate processes leading to memory disorders, especially Alzheimer’s, concludes the study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.