They were the first to discover a major genetic or inherited risk factor for Alzheimer's disease back in 1993.

Now the Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research in Nashville, Tennessee, has discovered a major variation in two chromosomes that they believe is connected to Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurological disorder that kills brain cells causing irreversible brain damage.

About five million people suffer from Alzheimer's disease in the U.S.

With this new chromosomes finding, researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, hope to be one step closer to stopping the suffering from the devastating disease.

It’s a tough time for Pat Adams. Marlon, her husband of 24 years, died a few months ago. Marlon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, the degeneration of brain cells and irreversible brain damage.

Marlon became a part of a major Alzheimer’s study at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Researchers are looking at DNA, mutations and genes involved in Alzheimer’s.

Their newest findings: major variations in two chromosomes, 9 and 12. Researchers hope by tracking the trail they will find a cure or better treatment for the disorder.

Jonathan Haines, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says, “We see this over-representation of this particular variation in Alzheimer individuals versus control individuals. There’s clearly something going on with this variation, we’re just not sure what this variation does.”

“We keep hoping that every step we take is going to be the critical one that allows us to understand and allows us to develop a treatment,” says Haines.

Though he’s gone, Marlon’s family finds comfort in knowing that his part in the research may spare others from Alzheimer’s devestation.

For some victims of Alzheimer's, the disease progresses quickly. They lose all ability to take care of themselves. For others, the deterioration occurs over many years.

Vanderbilt is part of a large international collaboration of clinical trials hoping to find a cure or better treatment.

Researchers say they need many volunteers for research, both those with Alzheimer's disease and those without.

If you would like to be part of the study, contact Vanderbilt Center for Human Genetics Research at 1-888-717-4319 or check out their web page at

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