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Researchers Find Stroke-Causing Gene

Posted May. 23, 2006 03:00,   


Korean researchers have discovered a new genetic mutation that causes strokes among relatively young people in their 20s to 40s. Strokes usually occur among those 50 years old and above.

University of Ulsan College of Medicine’s neurology professor Kim Jong-sung, 51, pediatrics professor Yoo Han-wook, 52, and Wonkwang University College of Medicine’s biochemistry professor Kim Young-ho, 41, and their research teams announced Monday that they “discovered a new genetic mutation from Korean patients who have a genetic disease that causes strokes.”

The research was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology’s 21 Century Frontier Research and Development Project and has been published in the May 23 issue of Neurology, an international journal published by the American Association of Neurology.

Strokes occur when the blood vessel that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked. It usually affects those over 50 while only about one percent of stroke patients are in their 20s to 40s.

Until now, a genetic disease called CADASIL has been seen as a cause of stroke among patients in their 20s to 40s. Most CADASIL patients are afflicted with strokes during that age, and 2/3 of the cases develop into dementia, ultimately killing the patients when they are in their 40s to 60s.

CADASIL is known to be caused by a mutation in a certain part (cysteine) of a gene called notch3.

The researchers conducted a genetic test on 27 people from nine families with CADASIL symptoms at the Asan Medical Center in Seoul.