New research has uncovered a gene linked to the development of Alzheimer's disease.
French researchers from the Inserm-Institut Pasteur Lille-Universite Lille Nord de France found that mutations of the TREM2 gene were associated with a five times greater risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer's disease.
Results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine and similar data has been released by a team in Iceland.
"A pathological analysis of six individuals presenting variants of the TREM2 gene has revealed evidence of Alzheimer's-type brain lesions," the French study stated.
It noted that the TREM2 gene expression in normal human brains was shown to have high levels in the white matter and in the hippocampus and cortex.
Earlier this week, the Alzheimer's Society announced a major new dementia research project ahead of the publication of a report next year.
The body wants individuals affected by the neurodegenerative disease to come forward and fill in a form about their experiences.
Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.