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Gene discovery may explain why more women get Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer, mujeres, gen, descubrimiento
Washington, Jul 1 (Prensa Latina) US scientists have found a gene that appears to increase the risk of Alzheimer's in women, providing a potential new clue as to why more women than men are diagnosed with the disease.

The gene, O6-Methylguanine-DNA-methyltransferase, or MGMT, plays an important role in how the body repairs damage to DNA in both men and women. But scientists found no association between MGMT and Alzheimer’s in men.

“It is a female-specific finding -perhaps one of the strongest associations of a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s in women,” said senior study coauthor Lindsay Farrer, chief of biomedical genetics at the Boston University School of Medicine.

The discovery of the new gene’s existence was made in two completely separate groups of people. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago were analyzing the genetic makeup of a small group of Hutterian Brethren women who live communally in rural Montana and South Dakota.

When specialists examined MGMT via epigenetics, which is what happens when a gene is switched on or off by behaviors and environmental factors, researchers found its expression in women was significantly associated with the development of beta amyloid and tau, two proteins that are hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.

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