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Case of missing gene could boost Alzheimer's research

Ann Gordon/Flickr/Creative Commons

Case of missing gene could boost Alzheimer's research

A single patient missing a gene that codes for the brain protein APOE may hold clues to Alzheimer’s disease, a new study suggests. Researchers have worked for decades to find therapies that can reduce or clear one of the protein’s variants, APOE4, from the brain because it is associated with greatly increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but without fully understanding what role the protein plays in cognition. Now, after running the APOE-free patient through a battery of cognitive tests, it appears that he is fairly normal, suggesting treatments that attempt to eliminate or limit the protein could be safer than expected, The New York Times reports.

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