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Cardiff University leads new global Alzheimer's research

Scientists from Cardiff University are leading new global research into Alzheimer's disease, in a study involving more than one million people around the world.

The £6m project will look into the relationship between genetics and lifestyle in the development of Alzheimer's, hoping to produce the most comprehensive understanding of the disease's risk to date.

Cardiff University's Professor Julie Williams is leading the global research.

"For too long scientists studying Alzheimer's have been working in silos, engaged in a single-minded 'race' to try and beat the disease. That's simply not going to happen unless we pull together," said Principal Investigator Prof Julie Williams from Cardiff University.

"The insights gleaned will pave the way for a new era of therapies. We predict that in future, based on this unrivalled data, GPs may be able run a simple test to analyse a patient's risk of developing Alzheimer's."

"A combination of gene therapy, drugs and lifestyle changes could then be prescribed to reduce that risk."

The research will look at the genetic data of more than a million people over the age of 65, from Europe, America, Australia and Asia.

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New genes linked to Alzheimer's

In the largest ever study of its kind, scientists, jointly led by Cardiff University, say they have uncovered 11 new susceptibility genes linked with Alzheimer's disease.

They say the breakthrough will significantly advance knowledge of Alzheimer's, and allow new research to be undertaken.

This discovery will pinpoint new mechanisms underlying Alzheimer's disease...What surprised us most about the findings was the very strong pattern that showed several genes implicating the body's immune response in causing dementia.

We will now turn our attention to people with early onset Alzheimer's - people in their 40s and 50s afflicted with more severe forms of the condition. Their genetic architecture may hold the key to finding yet more genes involved in Alzheimer's.

– Julie Williams, Cardiff University Head of Neurodegeneration

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