Scientists at Washington University in St Louis say a gene variation associated with aggressive progression of Alzheimer's was found in patients with high levels of a protein linked to the disease, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
They studied DNA variations in 846 patients with elevated levels of the protein.
"We have looked at data from three separate, international studies, and in all three we found the same association," study author Carlos Cruchaga said.
"So we are confident that it is real and that this gene variant is associated with progression in Alzheimer's disease."
The findings could help predict how quickly patients move from an initial diagnosis to full-blown dementia, researchers said.
Identifying patients who are going to develop the disease very quickly could also help in analyzing the effectiveness of trial drugs designed to slow its development, they say.
The research was published in the Public Library of Science Genetics journal.
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