Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias’ Research

Alzheimer disease is the most common form of severe memory loss or dementia in the elderly. Affecting 5 million people in the United States, this disease destroys the parts of the brain that control thinking, language, and judgement. Numerous studies indicate that individuals with a family history of Alzheimer disease have a greater chance of developing the disease. There currently is no effective treatment or cure for Alzheimer disease. Researchers at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics (HIHG) have been at the forefront of discovering the genetic causes of Alzheimer disease for over two decades.In 1993, a team led by HIHG Director Margaret A. Pericak-Vance, Ph.D., discovered the first major genetic risk factor for late onset Alzheimer disease. They found that people who inherit a version of the apolipoprotein-E gene (APOE-4) are at significantly increased risk for developing the disease. (Corder et al., 1993).

The studies conducted by HIHG researchers is focused on finding genetic risk factors associated with developing Alzheimer disease. Identifying these risk factor can lead to earlier diagnosis and better treatments.

Did you know?

  • Approximately 5 million people in the U.S. have Alzheimer disease and this number will likely increase to
    about 14 million by 2050
  • The same genetic factors do not necessarily carry the same level of risk in different populations.
  • For precision/personalized medicine to work, we must involve all types of people in genomics research