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Fri Jan 27, 2017, 01:17 AM

Growth-stunting gene may spare South Americans from dementia

Growth-stunting gene may spare South Americans from dementia
USC study indicates that a genetic mutation in a group of Ecuadorians may help them avoid Alzheimer’s disease
BY Emily Gersema JANUARY 25, 2017


Ecuadorians who have a rare, growth-stunting gene do not appear to experience memory loss to the same degree as other people, according to a new study.

“This genetic mutation, Laron syndrome, seems to be protective against age-dependent cognitive decline,” said senior corresponding author Valter Longo, a biogerontologist at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. “We have been able to observe only a handful of them in their 80s and 90s, but neither my Ecuadorian collaborator Jaime Guevara-Aguirre nor I have ever seen a case of Alzheimer’s in these people, and we believe this extends to dementia.”

The study, published in The Journal of Neuroscience, is the latest in a series by Longo and Guevara-Aguirre, an Ecuadorian endocrinologist, who are examining the health and aging of Laron syndrome. The rare genetic mutation, a type of dwarfism, was identified in a group of Ecuadorians whose ancestors had fled Spain during the Inquisition more than three centuries ago. The mutation leaves them without a growth hormone receptor – and consequently they are short in stature.

A condition with health advantages

The Ecuadorians with Laron syndrome who consented to take part in these studies are among an estimated 350 people in the world who have the mutation, according to the National Institutes of Health. Longo, who directs the Longevity Institute at USC Davis, said that they are the descendants of people who fled the Spanish Inquisition to live in Ecuador.


More:
http://news.usc.edu/115469/people-with-growth-stunting-gene-have-a-sharper-memory/

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