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Major breakthrough in Alzheimer's research

Posted at 6:44 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-14 18:44:38-04

A new study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill could be a major breakthrough in Alzheimer’s research.

Medical professionals say a specific gene in the brain associated with the disease can be found in preschoolers. Dent Pediatric Neurologist, Dr. Jennifer McVige said this ground breaking study is fascinating and could be the key to finding a cure.

“I think it is promising even though it’s a frightening thing to think about, but it is forward thinking. You know if we could look in the very young population and see these changes how we can stop it then, as a pose to waiting until the danger has already been done when you’re 55 years old,” Dr. McVige said.

Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia commonly diagnosed among seniors. The effects of the disease can range from mild memory loss to trouble speaking, reading and writing.

This breakthrough coming weeks after the passing of college basketball legend, Pat Summitt. The 64 year old died after battling Alzheimer's for several years. Pat Summitt was the record setting head coach of Tennessee’s women’s basketball team. 

Several people at Delaware Park told 7 Eyewitness News that they are on the fence about whether or not they would want to know if their child would face Alzheimer’s as an adult.

“I would want to know because I would be an optimist and think that by the time my child is grown up or older there will be a cure,” Katie Buchler said.

“I’m a little bit on the fence. I can see both sides of the issue. You know sometimes you might not want to know everything that your child is going to have to struggle with in the future,”  Bertholt Schreoder said.

Dr. McVige is confident this study will provide more answers to why brain diseases happen and how they can be cured.

“I think this study is groundbreaking, because if we can find this in a 5 year old and start doing something to intervene that’s wonderful,” Dr. McVige said.

However, there still isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s, but there are ways to slow it down. Medical professionals are hoping this study will open doors for a cure.