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Published on: January 28, 2015
by Shelly Fraley for Diabetes Insider:
A new study indicates that about twenty percent of the population (yes, that is one out of every five people) carry a “smart gene” which is connected to conditions like a bigger forebrain, longer lifespan, and enhanced mental abilities.
This gene that is involved is called KLOTHO. It provides the code to make the protein klotho which is produce in both the kidney and brain which regulates several different processes in the body.
Study senior author Dr. Dena Dubal explains this namesake, one of the Greek fates: “She spins the thread of life and she is the daughter of Zeus; and we have expanded her duties to include boosting brain function.”
Dubal goes on to say, “We’ve known for a long time that people lose cognitive abilities as they age, but now we’re beginning to understand that factors like klotho can give people a boost and confer resilience in aging.”
In one stage of the research, the team engineered mice to have higher levels of the klotho gene.
The University of California-San Francisco assistant professor of neurology comments, “Not only did the mice live longer, but they were smarter at baseline.” The assistant professor of neurology at UCSF continues, “Our data show that carrying one copy of that variant really confers a decade of deferred decline that you see in aging of that brain region.”
Dr. Dubal describes “Genetic variation in KLOTHO could help us predict brain health and find ways to protect people from devastating diseases that happen to us as we grow old, like Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”
Basically, this genetic variation could help peoples’ brains age slower than others.
Dubal continues, “If one can boost brain structure and function, maybe that could counter the effects of devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.”
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