A team of scientists has found five genes, which are linked to a disorder that challenges the brain with clusters of abnormal protein deposits called Lewy bodies. This disorder is known as Lewy body dementia. The genetic study has been led by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The study has noted that a person who is found with these five genes is at a higher risk of being diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia disorder. Scientists have said that Lewy bodies are a hallmark of Parkinson’s disease as well. The study has not only shown the link between Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease but also noted that people who are dealing with Lewy body dementia might share a similar genetic profile to people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Experts have said that there is no effective treatment for Lewy body dementia disorder.
While undergoing this disorder, patients deal with the worst outcomes of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The study has shown that Lewy body dementia disorder is led by a spectrum of issues, which are seen in both diseases. The lead author of the study from the NIH’s National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Sonja Scholz has said that the findings of the study will work as a blueprint for analyzing the disease and come up with new treatments. The results of the study have been released in the journal Nature Genetics.
The study has been conducted by Dr. Scholz’s team and other scientists from the lab of Bryan J. Traynor, who is a senior scientist at the NIH’s National Institute on Aging (NIA). As per the report, Lewy body dementia generally occurs in people who are above 65 years. Experts have said that hallucinations, mood swings, and issues with thinking, movements, and sleep are early signs of this brain disorder. People who deal with cognitive and behavioral issues are generally diagnosed with dementia caused by Lewy bodies, but sometimes they are mistakenly identified with Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease might be suffering from issues with thinking and mood swings, which are caused by Lewy body dementia. The study has reported that in both cases, patients turn severely disabled as the disease progresses further and they might die within 8 years of diagnosis.
The findings of the study show that genetics might play a crucial role in the onset of this disorder. In some cases, it might be inherited. It has been found that some of these rare cases might have occurred due to mutations in the gene for alpha-synuclein (SNCA), which the key protein is found in Lewy bodies. As per the experts, variants in the gene for apolipoprotein E (APOE) that play an essential role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, might be responsible for Lewy body dementia as well. Dr. Bryan J. Traynor has said that not much is known about the genetic forces behind Lewy body dementia as compared to other neurological disorders.
Experts have compared the chromosomal DNA sequences of 2981 people who have been dealing with Lewy body dementia disorder with 4931 healthy participants of the same age. They have taken the samples from people of European ancestry at 44 sites. Around 17 sites have been located in Europe and 27 sites have been located across North America. This DNA sequencing has been done by Dr. Clifton Dalgard and other experts at the American Genome Center. Scientists have found that the sequences of five genes of the patients with Lewy body dementia have been often different from people from the control group. However, for the first time, two of the genes, known as BIN1 and TMEM175 have been implicated in the disease.
The genetic analysis has shown that these genes might have a link with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. The other three genes SNCA, APOE, and GBA have been drawn in the past studies. Experts have seen the same difference in these five genes after comparing the DNA sequencing of another 970 patients with Lewy body dementia with a group of 8928 healthy people of the same age group. Further studies have shown that changes in the activity of these genes might result in dementia and the GBA gene has a more significant impact on this disorder.