Alzheimer's Disease linked to gene that affects immune system

By WEEK Producer
By NBC News

Alzheimer's Disease linked to gene that affects immune system

November 15, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 3:59 AM CDT

LONDON, United Kingdom -- Researchers from the University College London have discovered a gene that appears to affect the immune system's ability to protect against Alzheimer's Disease.

Alzheimer's experts have long focused on plaque build-up in the brain, a hallmark of the disease. Now, however, two separate groups of researchers stumbled upon a mutated gene that brings the immune system into the mix.

The gene appears to interfere with the immune system's ability to prevent plaque from accumulating in the brain.

Experts say the mutation increases the risk for Alzheimer's Disease by three to five times.

Research from University College London is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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