Promising Areas of Research
Robert A Kuwik
Judith A Martin
No great discovery is ever made without a bold
One cannot help but be tremendously encouraged by the explosion of knowledge that has occurred in the area of Alzheimer's disease etiology, diagnosis, and treatment in the last decade, After a long latent period during which very little movement took place, the war on Alzheimer's disease has been declared and victory is anticipated. We are now advancing on the fronts of genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, imaging, and treatment like battalions relentlessly moving forward on a battlefield. It seems that it will be only a matter of time before we achieve a major breakthrough in halting or at least slowing the disease with a drug that is almost totally free of side effects. The decade of the 1990s has been named the "decade of the brain." It is certainly living up to its reputation. We wish to highlight some promising areas of research.
Alzheimer's disease may have several underlying genetic causes. Three autosomal dominant genes—amyloid precursor protein (APP), presenilin I (PS I), and presenilin II (PS II)—cause an early onset (less than 65 years of age) familial form of Alzheimer's disease. Another autosomal gene called apolipoprotein E (APOE) may predispose an individual to develop the late onset (older than 65 years of age) form of Alzheimer's disease. Other as yet unmapped genes may also play roles in the causation of Alzheimer's disease and may be used in molecular testing.