The reason why East Asians are more vulnerable to Alzheimer's disease than Westerners has been confirmed to be because of certain mutation in a dementia causing gene.
The researchers at South Korea's National Research Center for Dementia at Chosun University recently published a report in the Journal of Clinical Medicine based on research on some 40 thousand individuals.
They discovered that a certain variation in a gene called 'APOE4' is the cause of ethnic differences in the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease.
An expert says, APOE4 has long been known to be the key in the development of Alzheimer's disease and people with this gene have a higher risk of the disease.
"APOE-4 is responsible for creating a protein that carries cholesterol and other fats in our blood stream. This protein interacts with neurons and initiates toxic events that can ultimately lead to the destruction of nerve cells in the brain."
According to the researchers at Chosun University, there are G and T type of variations of the APOE 4 gene.
"People with the T-type gene variation in their APOE gene are roughly 2-and-a-half times more susceptible to dementia than those with the G-type variation."
The researchers also found that the T-type variation is more frequently found in East Asians than Westerners.
Roughly 7 out of 10 East Asians had this type of variation in their APOE4 gene.
As a countermeasure, the researchers developed a technique using mouth swabs to predict the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
"Over the past 8 years, we have invested a large amount of funds and gathered data to develop AI-based dementia prediction technology. Accordingly, we have complied the largest amount of full-range data in Asia."
Since roughly 10 percent of people over 65 are currently suffering from dementia in South Korea, these findings are expected to play a significant role in tackling the disease in the future.
Eum Ji-young Arirang News.