Human evolved and are still evolving a specific set of genes that prevent dementia from occurring. Dr. Ajit Varki, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine, and colleagues are the first to identify the genes that keep people from losing their cognitive abilities as they age. The discovery was reported in the Nov. 30, 2015, edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
A variant of the CD33 protein that encodes the surface of immune cells with the capacity to prevent self destruction was found to be specific to humans and the natural prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. The levels of CD33 proteins in humans are four times higher than in human’s closest evolutionary relative the chimpanzee. A variant of the gene that is one of the highest risk factors in Alzheimer’s disease called APOE was found to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.
The origins of the APOE variants that protect people from dementia predate the earliest known existence of man. The progressive evolution of the CD33 protein is viewed as a necessity for the development of modern man. Machinery, science, and music could not have been fully explored or developed without older people that had complete control of their mental abilities being an active part of child rearing.
The majority of researchers consider Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline to have a genetic origin. While research has made tremendous strides in understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia, no cure has been produced and treatments do not prevent the progression of the diseases. Based on the discovery, man may be evolving to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia without the assistance of science and medicine.