You are viewing AANS Neurosurgeon Volume 25, Number 3, 2016. View our current issue, Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 25, Number 3, 2016

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Genes Associated With Resilience Against Brain Pathology Identified

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Two genes help cognition withstand damage in brain from Alzheimer’s

The pathologies (damage) in the brain that stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological conditions cause in older adults only partially explain the memory loss, reduced reasoning ability and other cognitive impairments that result from these conditions. Little is known about why the effects of brain pathology vary between people who develop it. Now researchers have discovered two genes, known as UNC5C and ENC1, that are associated with aging individuals having better memory and brain function than would be expected, given the amount of pathologies that accumulated in their brains. “Most of the cognitive loss that we experience in older age remains unexplained. Certain individuals are very resistant to the pathologies of the aging brain, while others may be particularly vulnerable,” says study senior investigator David Bennett, MD, who directs the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

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