Consanguinity and Alzheimer
At Ace Alzheimer Center Barcelona we work for making Alzheimer’s history. Part of the path to this goal is to understand the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias in order to fins treatments and medication that stabilize or remit cognitive decline.
More than four years ago, Ace Alzheimer Center Barcelona launched the GR@ACE project, with the collaboration of Fundación “La Caixa” and Grifols, to utilise its genetic collection, one of the largest in the world of dementia, and answer many questions that still exist in the dementia process. Thanks to the work of its researchers and the high quality of the data stored for twenty years, several high-valued articles have already been published in renowned scientific journals.
Recently, the prestigious publication Translational Psychiatry, of the Nature group, has published a new study of the GR@ACE project. In collaboration with the University of Washington, the research concludes for the first time that the consanguinity is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s. That is, it has been detected that Alzheimer’s appears more frequently, specifically with a 12% more probability, in people who are descendants of unions between relatives, although these are relatives so distant that is in fact unknown.
Why is it a find of great importance?
Sonia Moreno, principal author of this GR@ACE study, considers that the find is interesting because it allows researchers to get closer to the genetic origins of Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it will allow the identification of new candidate genes that could be related to this dementia following a recessive inheritance pattern. That is, genetically tracing the ancestors of the person with cognitive impairment to understand which genes could come into play in the development of dementia.
Additionally, the research has overcome several technical challenges to seek the consanguinity in people without close kinship. That is, who are not related to each other, since generally the research carried out to date has been limited to study family groupings.
GR@ACE, a priority Project based on genomic theories
The GR@ACE project aims at integrative bioinformatics, personalised medicine and the identification of new possible treatments.
From a clinical point of view, the impact of genomic technologies about diagnosis and the ability to predict is proving to be of great importance. In fact, the experts consider that the genetic characterisation of patients with Alzheimer’s will generate a change in the diagnostic model in the future.
In addition to funding from Grifols and Fundación “La Caixa”, this genomic research project has received five direct grants from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III and the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red Enfermedades Neurodegenerativas (CIBERNED)