Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Friday 15 January |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Nikolaus Gross
home iconNews
line break icon

Icelanders could hold the key to preventing Alzheimer’s

Dennis van de Water | Shutterstock

Zelda Caldwell - published on 03/29/17

A small segment of the country’s population carries a gene that protects against the disease.

Researchers have identified a gene that protects against Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in the native Iceland population. The news is promising as it could make possible the development of drugs that would mimic the effects of the mutated gene or lead to the development of genetic therapies, according to a report from the American Council of Science and Health.

Because of its isolation, the Icelandic population of 300,000 is relatively inbred and genetically similar. Its small and homogeneous gene pool is makes it possible to identify rare mutations in genes. In the case of the AD-preventative gene, the mutation was found in only .5 percent of Iceland’s population.

According to the ACSH report, the mutated gene slows the process by which a protein known as APP breaks down and forms the beta-amyloid protein found in the brains of people with AD. In people who have the gene, the breakdown of the APP protein is inhibited, and the risk of developing AD is decreased.

“Compared with their countrymen who lack the mutation, Icelanders who carry it are more than five times more likely to reach 85 without being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. They also live longer, with a 50% better chance of celebrating their 85th birthday.”

In a paradoxical twist, more recent research has identified a separate genetic variation among Icelanders that predisposes people to early-onset Alzheimer’s. Both of these discoveries add to the knowledge necessary to develop treatment and prevention strategies.

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
DAD, HOW DO I?
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the dad who's teaching basic skills on Y...
FORGIVING COUPLE
Bret Thoman, OFS
An exorcist teaches 4 steps to forgive
Philip Kosloski
What is the Holy Cloak of St. Joseph?
LUXOR FILM FESTIVAL
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Why God loves ordinary stuff: Pope Francis' r...
POPE FRANCIS; Ash Wednesday
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Vatican: Imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday...
D'CRUZ FAMILY
Cerith Gardiner
Meet the family of 12 siblings with a very sp...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.