Boston University Study Finds Unique Alzheimer's Risks For Ashkenazi Jews

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston University researchers say they've discovered new genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's Disease in Ashkenazi Jews.

Ashkenazi Jews trace their heritage back to a relatively small number of ancestors Eastern Europe, living in genetically and culturally distinct communities from their neighbors for about a thousand years.

Scientists with the BU Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine hypothesized that certain genes that code for Alzheimer's would pop up more frequently among Ashkenazi Jews as a result.

Researchers in the study looked at 3,500 Ashkenazi Jews, and identified previously-unknown genes that could be linked with Alzheimer's. Study author Dr. Lindsay Farrer said there are lessons to be learned here about genetic diseases in communities with a smaller gene pool. He said the genes highlighted by the study could be relevant to diagnosing and treating Alzheimer's in other populations.

The study's findings were published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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