Read how scientists and journalists both portrayed this new genetic discovery in their respective articles.
This web page was produced as an assignment for an undergraduate course at Davidson College.
|Some Fact Concerning Alzheimer's||What the Scientists Discovered||How the Popular Press Conveyed It|
Alzheimer's disease has been extensively researched for years. After 16 years, scientists have found two new genes that will cause scientists to reassess how Alzheimer's develops. Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s association, is a brain disorder need after German physician Alois Alzheimer, who was the first to describe it in 1906. According to their website, around 5.3 million Americans are living with this disease, which progressive gets worse and has proven to be fatal. This disease primarily affects elderly and involves memory loss, loss of independence, and slow thought process. While there are treatments and support systems to help ease the pain of Alzheimer’s, there is no present cure and therefore this disease has ranked as the seventh- leading cause of death.
According to Lambert et al, there are two types of neuropathologic lesions seen in a patient with Alzheimer’s. These include neurofibrillary degeneration due to accumulation of hyperphosphorylated Tau protein within the neurons and amyloid deposits due to accumulation of amyloid plaques. Both of these lesion creating processes lead to the degenerative mature of Alzheimer’s but their relationship is not well understood so scientists went to a possible source of the problem: genetics.
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Lambert, J. et al. Genome-wide association study identifies variants at CLU and CR1 associated with Alzheimer's disease [Internet]. Nature Genetics. Published online: 6 Sept 2009 [cited: 14 Sept 2009] Available from: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/ng.439.html
Kua E, Reder M, Grossel MJ. Science in the news: a study of reporting genomics. Public Understanding of Sciene. 2004; 13: 309-322.
Alzheimer's genes link uncovered. BBC News [Internet]. 2009 Sept 6 [cited 2009 Sept 17]. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/8237686.stm
Alzheimer’s Association. Alzheimer’s Association Nation Site [Internet]. Chicago (IL): Alzheimer’s Association; c2009 . Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures; 7 Jul 2009 [cited 2009 Sept 14]; [about 1 screens]. Available from: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_facts_figures.asp
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