Genes Could Increase Risk Of Alzheimers
More than one third of the U.S population carries a gene that makes them fat and also reduces brain volume, putting them at risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study from the University of California Los Angeles.
The problem is in the FTO gene -- called the fat mass and obesity gene. The "bad" version of the gene "not only adds an inch to your waistline, but makes your brain look 16 years older," said Paul Thompson, a neurology professor at the University of California Los Angeles.
Thompson recommends that people who carry the bad version of the FTO gene should eat a low-fat diet and exercise regularly. A study from 2008 of Amish people with the FTO gene suggested that physical activity can override a genetic predisposition to obesity.
Thompson also said that because so many people have the obesity gene, new drug compounds are likely to be on the horizon. For now, Thompson said that findings should encourage people to eat less and exercise more.
Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimers disease, which affects 26 million people globally.