Genetic mutation may be Alzheimer’s risk factor in African-Americans

Mayo Clinic researchers have found a new gene mutation that may be a risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease in African-Americans. Nilufer Taner, M.D., Ph.D. (NSCI ’01, NSCI ’03, I-1 ’04, N ’07, N-BN ’08), Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic in Florida, was the study’s lead researcher. Minerva Carrasquillo, Ph.D., was co-author of the study, which was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Despite the fact that Alzheimer’s is twice as likely in African-Americans than Caucasians and other racial groups, the disease has been vastly understudied in that population. Genetic screening was conducted on more than 200 African-Americans with Alzheimer’s, yielding significant data crucial to understanding the disease in this underserved population.

Despite this breakthrough, Dr. Taner notes that the screen used on the black study participants is still miniscule compared to the ones that have been and are being used on whites.


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