In recent years, much Alzheimer’s disease research has focused on determining genetic risk factors for the disorder. A better understanding of the disease’s genetic mechanisms could lead to improved methods of Alzheimer’s diagnosis and prevention. In preliminary studies, Minerva Carrasquillo, Ph.D., and colleagues have identified a variant (unusual form) of a normal gene called TREM2, which may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in people. TREM2 exists within a cluster of genes called TREM genes, and variants of other TREM genes (including TREM1, TREML1, TREML2 and TREML4) may also promote brain dysfunction and dementia.
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- Alzheimer’s Association