One Woman Defied Dementia and the Implications are Huge

For decades, a woman in Medellín, Colombia sidestepped the dementia that was an early death sentence for generations of her family, The New York Times reports.

But how?

She has the same genetic mutation as thousands of her relatives—and lots of amyloid buildup, a token marker of Alzheimer’s—but no major neuron damage or tau buildup, Science reports.

Turns out, she also has a rare mutation of the common APOE gene, which shielded her from dementia, according to a new paper in Nature Medicine.

The findings behind this remarkable case could shift Alzheimer’s research targets away from tau and amyloid and towards APOE at a time when new approaches are badly needed. Some 200 drugs against Alzheimer's have failed.

What’s more, researchers were able to mimic the effect of the mutation in a petri dish, showing promise for further studies and new treatments.

 

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