Study co-author John Kauwe, associate professor of biology at Brigham Young University in Provo, UT, and colleagues publish their findings in the journal PLOS Medicine.
In the US, it is estimated that around 5.3 million people of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease – the most common form of dementia – with the number of cases expected to rise by 40% over the next 10 years.
Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the US, with around 700,000 people aged 65 and older expected to die of the disease this year. It is the only cause of death in the top 10 that cannot be prevented, cured or slowed.
Prof. Kauwe and colleagues note that researchers are currently working to identify risk factors for Alzheimer’s, particularly ones that can be modified. “If such risk factors exist,” they add, “it might be possible to limit the predicted increase in future Alzheimer’s disease cases.”