Susceptibility genes and environmental risk factors in Alzheimer's Disease

Dr. Robin Hsiung is researching the genetic and environmental origins of Alzheimer's disease. The disease is the most common type of dementia, affecting five per cent of seniors aged 65 and older, and 40 per cent of people over 80. People suffering from Alzheimer's often need costly treatments and placement in care facilities. Recent advances in molecular genetics have led to the discovery of at least four genes involved in the development of Alzheimer's disease. However, a number of genes that are believed to be connected to the disease have yet to be confirmed. Robin will examine samples and data from two large Canadian studies of people with Alzheimer's and other cognitive impairments. His research will identify the genes and environmental risk factors that indicate susceptibility for Alzheimer's disease. Understanding how these risks can be modified will enable the development of new educational programs and therapies that may decrease the incidence and financial burden of this disease.