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March 12, 1997

Researchers Find Evidence of a New Gene for Late-Onset Alzheimer Disease

JAMA. 1997;277(10):775. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03540340009003

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A TEAM of researchers has found strong evidence that a gene on chromosome 12 is linked to a common type of Alzheimer disease (AD) that strikes people aged 65 years and older.

The discovery, reported last month at a scientific meeting in Durango, Colo, by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), Boston, Mass, was the result of an investigation of 52 AD-prone families who lack gene mutations or polymorphisms previously linked with the disorder.

The evidence that a gene on chromosome 12 increases a person's susceptibility to the disorder "is very strong," said Jonathan L. Haines, PhD, associate professor of neurology and biostatistics at Harvard Medical School, Boston.

"I feel confident that there's something in this region," agreed Margaret Pericak-Vance, MD, of Duke.

Previous studies had uncovered 4 genes linked with the disease. Three of these, the amyloid precursor protein gene on chromosome

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