A new study in the US has discovered a previously unknown link between a certain gene and the development of Alzheimer's disease.
Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine were investigating the amyloid plaque deposits that have long been acknowledged as a significant factor in the cognitive decline associated with the neurodegenerative condition.
The research, which appears in the latest edition of the Molecular Psychiatry journal, has identified a gene called BCHE, which produces the enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine - an element that is important for good cognitive function.
The depletion of acetylcholine has been thought to be important in the development of plaque deposits and therefore onset of Alzheimer's for many years, but scientists have never previously discovered how this occurs.
Andrew Saykin, director of the Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Centre, said: "This study is connecting two of the biggest Alzheimer's dots."
It is now thought this research could prove to be a significant breakthrough in the search for a cure for the condition.
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