Nov 28, 2016

60 Minutes The Alzheimer's Laboratory

An extended family in Colombia with a genetic mutation causing Alzheimer’s may help scientists prevent the disease someday.


Colubmbia is home to the largest concentration of people in the world who carry a rare gene that makes them 100 percent certain to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
By Alzheimer's Reading Room

Antioquia, Columbia (capital city, Medellin) is home to the largest concentration of people in the world who carry a rare gene that makes them 100 percent certain to develop Alzheimer’s disease.


It strikes when people are in their mid-40s and leads to death about a decade later.


The following excerpts are from “The Alzheimer’s Laboratory”.  Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Shari Finkelstein, producer.

Subscribe to the Alzheimer's Reading Room
Email:

Lesley Stahl: You’ve been working on this 30 years. How do you cope with all this pain?

Francisco Lopera: [breaks down]

It was not the response we had expected.


They thought it might be genetic, so Madrigal spent days at parish churches, poring over heavy ledgers where priests for generations had recorded village births, marriages, and deaths. Thanks to these meticulous records, she was able to trace the disease back hundreds of years, and to make an important discovery -- the different families were actually one huge extended family, connected generations back by common ancestors who had died young, with an unusual cause of death written down by the priest: “softening of the brain.”


Pierre Tariot: At the end of the meeting, each scientist was allowed to say one closing thought. And Francisco had the last word.

Lesley Stahl: Lopera?

Pierre Tariot: And he paused a long time. And you could hear a pin drop in the room.

Francisco Lopera: I said to them-- “We w-- the families are waiting for you.”

_________________________

Ken Kosik: I am always impressed that these families that come from such a remote area of the world-- have the potential for informing all of us, globally, about a path forward for conquering Alzheimer’s.

Watch The Alzheimer's Laboratory from 60 Minutes below.

Read the complete transcript - 60 Minutes The Alzheimer's Laboratory


How to Get Answers To Your Questions About Alzheimer's and Dementia

Related Articles

The Effect of Emotional Super Glue in Alzheimer's Care

Coping with Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Care Sitting in the Front Row

Memory Care Facility

The Alzheimer's Reading Room contains more than 5,000 articles and has been published daily since July, 2009.

You are reading original content the Alzheimer's Reading Room

"The Alzheimer's Reading Room and Bob DeMarco are true treasures to Alzheimer's patients and their loved ones, especially their caregivers. As a scientist I visit the site every day for the always current research updates."
 
"The world is incredibly fortunate to have this endless source of information and support. God bless you, Bob, and thanks for all you do!"
Rudy Tanzi
Time Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world. Professor of Neurology and holder of the Joseph P. and Rose F. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Neurology at Harvard University.