by Sahil Rawal (’19)
Alzheimer’s disease is a well-known neurodegenerative disease that commonly affects people of older age. Although scientists have been able to connect different lifestyle factors with the onset of Alzheimer’s, the basic molecular mechanisms are still not completely understood. Currently, there are many ongoing studies that aim to gain more information on Alzheimer’s disease and the etiologies behind the devastating disease.
Studies have recently found that men typically have a loss of chromosome Y (LOY) as they age. The results have led researchers to believe that this occurrence can act as a precursor to certain types of cancers. A recent study conducted by scientists at Uppsala University utilized different statistical analyses to measure the LOY in men aged 37-96. They first found that 17.0% of the participants had LOY, and then used linear models to conclude it was more prevalent in older men. Next the researchers performed case-control analyses to determine that men who did not have the Y chromosome were more likely to have Alzheimer’s compared to the controls. The study concluded that LOY was more prevalent in patients who have already been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, patients who had LOY were more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in the future than those who were not. Although there is still much experimenting and learning to be done to understand this complicated disease, researchers are gaining more information about the intricacies of Alzheimer’s.
- P. Dumanski et al., Mosaic loss of chromosome Y in blood is associated with Alzheimer disease. The American Journal of Human Genetics, 98, 1208-1219 (2016), doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.05.014.
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