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New light shed on Alzheimer's predictor

LONDON -- Signs of Alzheimer's disease can be found in people with a rare, inherited form of the illness at least 20 years before the onset of symptoms, according to new studies that may guide earlier preventive treatment.

In a study of 44 adults in Colombia between the ages of 18 and 26, people with the presenilin 1 gene mutation, a disease predictor, had higher levels of a protein called amyloid beta, which leads to plaques in the brain that characterize the ailment, according to a study published Nov. 6 in the Lancet Neurology journal. Another study showed that amyloid plaques begin to accumulate in the brains of people with the mutation in their late 20s.

The results should be treated with caution said Nick Fox, a professor of clinical neurology at University College London, accompanying the article.

-- Bloomberg News

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