New map shows gene variations in brain diseases
Monday 16 April 2012
ENIGMA - Enhancing Neuro Imaging Genetics through Meta Analysis - was led by the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles) and researchers in Australia and in the Netherlands, who recruited scientists at more than 100 institutions to pool brain scans and genetic information.
The database contains thousands of MRI images and DNA screens from 21,151 healthy people. Researchers sought out specific, heritable gene variations that appeared to cause disease. These include variants associated with reduced brain size, larger brain size and increased intelligence.
"By sharing our data with Project ENIGMA, we created a sample large enough to reveal clear patterns in genetic variation and show how these changes physically alter the brain" said Dr. Paul Thompson, Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at UCLA. He added that Project ENIGMA would next look for genes that control the brain's wiring which becomes defective in Alzheimer's disease.