The breakthrough could provide a test for a rare brain disease called frontotemporal dementia, as well as the drugs to treat it, within five years, the US researchers said. The gene ages the frontal cortex of the brain, the centre for working memory.
Dr Asa Abeliovich, co-author of the study led by Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, said the gene, called TMEM106B, came in many variants, some of which could be harmful. She added: ‘People who have two “bad” copies of this gene have a frontal cortex that appears 12 years older that those who have two normal copies. TMEM106B exerts its effect once people reach 65. Until then, everybody’s in the same boat.’
The study, published in the journal Cell Systems, may have an impact on dementia, which can start with premature ageing. Dr David Reynolds, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: ‘There’s a pressing need to understand the mechanisms that separate those who age well from those who don’t.’
© Daily Mail