An international team of researchers announces today in the journal Nature that they have found another gene that causes Alzheimer's disease, the third such gene to be discovered. The new gene causes a particularly aggressive form of the disease that strikes people in their 30s. As many as 10% of the 4 million Americans who have Alzheimer's developed it before the age of 65.
The team does not know what the gene does when it is healthy or when it is defective. But the fact that it causes Alzheimer's so early in life suggests that it plays some central role in the process causing all types of Alzheimer's, said Dr. Peter St. George-Hyslop of the University of Toronto, who led the team.