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Ageing gene linked to development of dementia

Ageing gene linked to development of dementia
23rd July 2010

A new scientific study claims to have developed the first link between a known ageing gene and the development of Alzheimer's disease.

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found that the SIRT1 gene is directly linked to the build-up of the amyloid protein in the brain - previously found to be one of the causes of dementia.

The gene controls the production of clumps or 'plaques' or this protein. The research found that when SIRT1 is activated learning and memory are improved and they are heavily impaired when this gene is removed.

Reacting to the news, the Alzheimer's Society's head of research Susanne Sorensen said that more research is now needed to see if drugs treatments that activate SIRT1 can be used to fight dementia.

She added: "However, dementia research is desperately underfunded. Dementia receives eight times less funding than cancer research.

"If we are to beat dementia we must invest today to find a cure for tomorrow."

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes.