Scientists identify genes responsible for stroke and dementia

A team of scientists in the United States have said that they have been able to identify a new set of genes that may be responsible for stroke and dementia.

The team of researchers identified a new gene called FOXF2 that are responsible for increasing the risk of having a stroke because of small vessel disease in the brain. The small vessel disease causes stroke and is also a key contributor to the risk of dementia. The disease is also linked to the gait problems and depression in persons.

The researchers said that the study will allow researchers to better understand, treat and prevent ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and perhaps Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Earlier studies have large focused on genes causing atherosclerosis and genes affecting the function of platelets or the clotting processes as risk factors for ischemic stroke. The new study focuses on the new set of genes linked to the hemorrhagic stroke. The team used genome wide association as well as meta-analysis to study the new stroke genes.

SudhaSeshadri from Boston University Medical Center in US said, "Our research has identified a gene affecting another type of ischemic stroke, due to small vessel disease and also suggests some genes may be associated with both ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke and may act through a novel pathway affecting pericytes, a type of cell in the wall of small arteries and capillaries." She also said that it is essential to understand the small vessel disease in order to be able to develop effective treatments for preventing stroke.

The research paper was published in the journal Lancet Neurology.