November 29, 2008

Study to probe early-onset Alzheimer’s

The adult children of people with the inherited form of Alzheimer's disease are being sought for a new study of the rare disorder.

Three hundred adults with a biological parent diagnosed with a known genetic mutation causing the early-onset form of Alzheimer's are being sought for a six-year, $16 million study being funded by the U.S. National Institute on Aging, HealthDay News reported Friday.

Just 5 percent of Alzheimer's patients have the inherited form of the disease, which can affect people as young as 30.

The so-called Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Disease Network study is aimed at identifying changes in the brain that occur before symptoms of the brain disease appear. Researchers also hope to better understand the more common, late-onset form of Alzheimer's disease.

This collaborative, international effort will link a network of research sites in the United States, England and Australia to family members of people with these rare forms of Alzheimer's, NIA Director Richard Hodes said in a statement. By sharing data within the network, we hope to advance our knowledge of the brain mechanisms involved in Alzheimer's, eventually leading to targets for therapies that can delay or even prevent progress of the disease.