What is it about?

The number of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients will strongly increase in the coming decades, and their patient care is extremely costly. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has no known cure, so there is a strong focus on accurate early diagnosis so that the disease can already be carefully managed in its first stages. It is well-established that the onset of AD is substantially influenced by the presence of multiple risk genes and is characterized by the volume loss of the hippocampus, a brain region associated with AD. The cumulative effect of the risk genes can be calculated for an individual, which translates into a DNA-based risk score for AD. Traditionally, the total volume loss of the hippocampus is measured using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In contrast, in this study, we measured the subregions of the hippocampus. We investigated the differences in the pattern of hippocampal subregional volume loss using the DNA-based risk score for AD. The study shows that the genetic risk for AD has a stronger association with certain regions than others. This information is useful in improving the early diagnosis of AD.

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Why is it important?

The risk for AD is influenced by multiple genes, and knowing and understanding the mechanisms through which these genes work and pose a threat to the correct functioning of the brain is necessary to develop diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative strategies. An earlier diagnosis of AD could lead to better patient care with a lower price tag.


Polygenic scores are at the cutting edge of science, so it was exciting to work with these brand-new measures.

Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis
Chosun University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Polygenic score for Alzheimer’s disease identifies differential atrophy in hippocampal subfield volumes, PLoS ONE, July 2022, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0270795.
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