Polygenic Risk Score Identifies Alzheimer’s At Earlier Age

The polygenic risk score (PRS) for Alzheimer’s disease can correctly identify adults who have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) while they are in their 50s, new research shows.

These results will help to identify those at risk for Alzheimer’s disease long before strong symptoms emerge. Thus, efforts to better treat or slow its Alzheimer’s progression is possible.


polygenic risk score


Polygenic Risk Score: Measuring Disease Incidence

A polygenic risk score measures the genetic liability of large numbers of people that have the disease. Many small variations in DNA that are linked to the disease are evaluated.

Current studies of the Alzheimer’s disease polygenic risk score usually occur in senior citizens in their 70s. However, the pathology such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can start decades before the full onset of dementia.

Polygenic risk scores is a new field. The genetic basis of disease comes from thousands of genes, not just one or two genes.


Polygenic Risk Score: Progression From MCI To Alzheimer’s

People with MCI have slight but noticeable problems with memory, thinking, and other cognitive abilities. But these are not sufficiently severe to interfere with their daily lives or capacity to live independently.

Having MCI, the sort that affects memory, in particular, means that there is a greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia.

Research results reported in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, supported the predictive accuracy of  PRS. Participants, in the top PRS 25 percent, had a three times higher chance of displaying MCI compared to the lowest 25 percent.

The polygenic score can differentiate individuals with mild cognitive impairment from those who were cognitively normal.

By looking for MCI in age 50+ adults, it is possible to better identify patients for critical early interventions and clinical trials.

Indeed, delaying Alzheimer’s disease by just 5 years could reduce the number of cases by nearly 50 percent by 2050.

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