Researchers identify gene that has been linked to stroke and dementia
There is a gene that could increase our risk of stroke and dementia. Researchers discovered that this gene damages vessels in our brain and causes them to shrink. The finding could lead to new drugs being developed for these two most common neurological disorders.
When people have a stroke or develop dementia, it affects their entire life and often their surroundings. For a long time, doctors have been looking for ways and medications to better treat these diseases. Scientists from Boston University now discovered that a gene could be the cause of the diseases. This gene causes damage to the vessels in our brain, which can increase the likelihood of dementia or stroke. The researchers published their results in the journal "Lancet Neurology".
Gene blocks blood flow to our brain
The doctors discovered a gene in our brain that blocks blood flow. As a result, the organ cannot be supplied with essential oxygen and food. Without the supply, the neutrons die off. This finding may help us better treat and possibly prevent strokes in the future, and it may also be possible to develop better treatments for Alzheimer's disease, the researchers say. Stroke is the leading neurological cause of death and disability worldwide today. In the UK alone, around 40,000 people die each year from a stroke, making it the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.
FOXF2 gene increases the number of small blood vessels in the brain
Previous studies mostly looked at how genes help our arteries harden. This condition is called atherosclerosis. The genes can cause blood clots to form and these can then trigger a so-called ischemic stroke, the experts explain. Another group of genes has been linked to hemorrhagic strokes and bleeding in the brain. Scientists are now conducting a genome-wide association study to investigate the genetic variations in the DNA of people who have had a stroke. In addition, the researchers attempted to use a meta-analysis to combine the data from previous studies into a large data set. They discovered the FOXF2 gene, which increases the small blood vessels in our brain, explain the doctors. As a result, our risk of stroke increases. Previous studies had never associated a gene with the most common type of small vascular disease, stroke, the experts say.
Help for future stroke treatment?
Our research found that a gene made our vessels smaller and that increased the likelihood of an ischemic stroke, explains Professor Sudha Seshadri from Boston University. Some genes have also been linked to ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke. The findings are essential to develop new therapeutic and preventive strategies to treat the causes of strokes, the doctor adds. The disease of the small vessels can not only cause a stroke, but is also an essential factor in the development of dementia and depression. In the UK alone there are around 850,000 people with dementia and it is expected that the number will increase to one million by 2025. (as)