Though advances in knowledge and diagnostics make it possible today to identify persons with early-onset dementia or a related cognitive disorder much sooner, little is known about the support needs of the family caregivers of these persons. The aim of this study was to document the unmet support needs of this specific group of caregivers. This knowledge is essential to open avenues for the development of innovative interventions and professional services tailored to their specific needs.
This study was conducted using a mixed research design. Participants were 32 family caregivers in their 50s recruited through memory clinics and Alzheimer Societies in Quebec (Canada). The Family Caregivers Support Agreement (FCSA) tool, based on a partnership approach between caregiver and assessor, was used to collect data in the course of a semi-structured interview, combined with open-ended questions.
The unmet support needs reported by nearly 70% of the caregivers were primarily of a psycho-educational nature. Caregivers wished primarily: (1) to receive more information on available help and financial resources; (2) to have their relatives feel valued as persons and to offer them stimulating activities adjusted to their residual abilities; (3) to reduce stress stemming from their caregiver role assumed at an early age and to have the chance to enjoy more time for themselves; and (4) to receive help at the right time and for the help to be tailored to their situation of caregiver of a young person.
Results show numerous unmet support needs, including some specific to this group of family caregivers. Use of the FCSA tool allowed accurately assessing the needs that emerged from mutual exchanges. Avenues for professional innovative interventions are proposed.
Caregivers; Early-onset dementia; Unmet support needs; Partnership approach; Professional interventions
This study is a European multicentre, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy and safety of nilvadipine as a disease course modifying treatment for mild-to-moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD) in a phase III study that will run for a period of 82 weeks with a treatment period of 78 weeks.
Methods and analysis
Adult patients, males and females over 50 years with mild-to-moderate AD as defined by the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke/Alzheimer's disease and Related Disorders Association (NINCDS-ADRDA) criteria, will be included in the study. It aims to recruit a total of 500 patients with AD; 250 in the nilvadipine group and 250 in the placebo group. Participants will be randomised to receive nilvadipine, an 8 mg overencapsulated, sustained release capsule, or a matching overencapsulated placebo (sugar pill) for a period of 78 weeks of treatment. The primary efficacy outcome measure in this study is the change in cognitive function as assessed by the Alzheimer's disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog 12) from baseline to the end of treatment duration (78 weeks). There are two key secondary outcome measures, the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale Sum of Boxes (CDR-sb) and the Disability Assessment for Dementia (DAD). If a statistically significant effect is seen in the primary outcome, CDR-sb will be considered to be a coprimary end point and only the DAD will contribute to the secondary outcome analysis.
Ethics and dissemination
The study and all subsequent amendments have received ethical approval within each participating country according to national regulations. Each participant will provide written consent to participate in the study. All participants will remain anonymised throughout and the results of the study will be published in an international peer-reviewed journal.
Trial registration number
EUDRACT Reference Number: 2012-002764-27.
The relevance of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) biomarkers for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related disorders is clearly established. However, the question remains on how to use these data, which are often heterogeneous (not all biomarkers being pathologic). The objective of this study is to propose to physicians in memory clinics a biologic scale of probabilities that the patient with cognitive impairments has an Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathologic process.
For that purpose, we took advantage of the multicenter data of our Paris-North, Lille, and Montpellier (PLM) study, which has emerged through the initial sharing of information from these memory centers. Different models combining the CSF levels of amyloid-β 42, tau, and p-tau(181) were tested to generate categories of patients with very low (<10%), low (<25%), high (>75%), and very high predictive values (>90%) for positive AD. In total, 1,273 patients (646 AD and 627 non-AD) from six independent memory-clinic cohorts were included.
A prediction model based on logistic regressions achieved a very good stratification of the population but had the disadvantages of needing mathematical optimization and being difficult to use in daily clinical practice. Remarkably, a simple and intuitive model based on the number (from zero to three) of three pathologic CSF biomarkers resulted in a very efficient predictive scale for AD in patients seen in memory clinics. The scale’s overall predictive value for AD for the different categories were as follows: class 0, 9.6% (95% confidence interval (CI), 6.0% to 13.2%); class 1, 24.7% (95% CI, 18.0% to 31.3%); class 2, 77.2% (95% CI, 67.8% to 86.5%); and class 3, 94.2% (95% CI, 90.7% to 97.7%). In addition, with this scale, significantly more patients were correctly classified than with the logistic regression. Its superiority in model performance was validated by the computation of the net reclassification index (NRI). The model was also validated in an independent multicenter dataset of 408 patients (213 AD and 195 non-AD).
In conclusion, we defined a new scale that could be used to facilitate the interpretation and routine use of multivariate CSF data, as well as helping the stratification of patients in clinical research trials.
Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls.
In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci.
The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
Eleven susceptibility loci for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (LOAD) were identified by previous studies; however, a large portion of the genetic risk for this disease remains unexplained. We conducted a large, two-stage meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in individuals of European ancestry. In stage 1, we used genotyped and imputed data (7,055,881 SNPs) to perform meta-analysis on 4 previously published GWAS data sets consisting of 17,008 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 37,154 controls. In stage 2,11,632 SNPs were genotyped and tested for association in an independent set of 8,572 Alzheimer’s disease cases and 11,312 controls. In addition to the APOE locus (encoding apolipoprotein E), 19 loci reached genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10−8) in the combined stage 1 and stage 2 analysis, of which 11 are newly associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
The recently identified C9ORF72 gene accounts for a large proportion of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degenerations. Since several forms of these disorders are associated with parkinsonism, we hypothesized that some patients with Parkinson’s disease or other forms of parkinsonism might carry pathogenic C9OFR72 expansions. Therefore, we looked for C9ORF72 repeat expansions in 1,446 parkinsonian unrelated patients consisted of 1,225 clinically diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, 123 with progressive supranuclear palsy, 21 with corticobasal degeneration syndrome, 43 with Lewy body dementia and 25 with multiple system atrophy-parkinsonism. Of the 1,446 parkinsonian patients, five carried C9ORF72 expansions: three patients with typical Parkinson’s disease, one with corticobasal degeneration syndrome and another with progressive supranuclear palsy. This study shows that: i) although rare, C9ORF72 repeat expansions may be associated with clinically typical Parkinson’s disease, but also with other parkinsonism; ii) in several patients, parkinsonism was dopa-responsive and remained pure, without associated dementia, for more than 10 years; iii) interestingly, all C9ORF72 repeat expansion carriers had positive family histories of parkinsonism, degenerative dementias or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. This study also provides the tools for identifying parkinsonian patients with C9ORF72 expansions, with important consequences for genetic counseling.
Adolescent; Adult; Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Female; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Open Reading Frames; genetics; Parkinson Disease; diagnosis; genetics; Pedigree; Proteins; genetics; Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion; genetics; Young Adult; parkinsonism; C9ORF72; dementia
Atrophy of the medial temporal lobe structures that support scene perception and the binding of an object to its context (i.e., the hippocampus and the parahippocampal cortex) appears early in the course of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). However, few studies have investigated scene perception in people with AD. Here, we assessed the ability to find a target object within a natural scene in people with AD and in people with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA, a variant of AD). Pairs of color photographs were displayed on the left and right of a fixation cross for 1 s. In separate blocks of trials, participants were asked to categorize the target (an animal) by either moving their eyes toward the photograph containing the target (the saccadic choice task) or pressing a key corresponding to the target’s location (the manual choice task). Isolated objects and objects within scenes were studied in both tasks. Participants with PCA were more impaired in detection of a target within a scene than participants with AD. The latter’s performance pattern was more similar to that of age-matched controls in terms of accuracy, saccade latencies and the benefit gained from contextual information. Participants with PCA benefited less from contextual information in both the saccade and the manual choice tasks—suggesting that people with posterior brain lesions have impairments in figure/ground segregation and are more sensitive to object crowding.
Alzheimer; posterior cortical atrophy; context; scene perception; saccades
There are many reports of cognitive dysfunction in patients receiving chemotherapy or targeted therapies. Many antineoplastic agents may be involved in the condition also known as “chemo brain” or “chemo fog”.
Two male patients (aged 41 and 70) with multiple myeloma developed severe, rapidly progressing cognitive impairment (mostly involving episodic memory) and loss of independence in activities of daily living during lenalidomide-based treatment. On withdrawal of the drug, one patient recovered normal cognitive function and independence in activities of daily living, whereas mild cognitive impairment persisted in the other patient. The Naranjo Adverse Drug Reaction Probability Scale score was 6 out of 13 for the first patient and 5 out of 13 for the second, suggesting a probable causal relationship between the adverse event and lenalidomide administration.
Lenalidomide may induce particular cognitive disorders (notably episodic memory impairments) in some patients. The drug’s putative neurotoxicity is probably promoted by specific risk factors (such as previous chemotherapy, prior mild cognitive impairment, age and the presence of cerebrovascular lesions).
Lenalidomide; Chemo brain; Chemo fog; Cognitive impairment; Episodic memory; Dementia
Apolipoprotein E (APOE) dependent lifetime risks (LTRs) for Alzheimer Disease (AD) are currently not accurately known and odds ratios (ORs) alone are insufficient to assess these risks. We calculated AD lifetime risk in 7,351 cases and 10,132 controls from Caucasian ancestry using Rochester (USA) incidence data. At the age of 85 the LTR of AD without reference to APOE genotype was 11% in males and 14% in females. At the same age, this risk ranged from 51% for APOE44 male carriers to 60% for APOE44 female carriers, and from 23% for APOE34 male carriers to 30% for APOE34 female carriers, consistent with semi-dominant inheritance of a moderately penetrant gene. Using PAQUID (France) incidence data, estimates were globally similar except that at age 85 the LTRs reached 68% and 35 % for APOE 44 and APOE 34 female carriers, respectively. These risks are more similar to those of major genes in Mendelian diseases, such as BRCA1 in breast cancer, than those of low-risk common alleles identified by recent GWAS in complex diseases. In addition, stratification of our data by age- groups clearly demonstrates that APOE4 is a risk factor not only for late- onset but for early- onset AD as well. Together, these results urge a reappraisal of the impact of APOE in Alzheimer disease.
Based on the recent literature and collective experience, an international consortium developed revised guidelines for the diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. The validation process retrospectively reviewed clinical records and compared the sensitivity of proposed and earlier criteria in a multi-site sample of patients with pathologically verified frontotemporal lobar degeneration. According to the revised criteria, ‘possible’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia requires three of six clinically discriminating features (disinhibition, apathy/inertia, loss of sympathy/empathy, perseverative/compulsive behaviours, hyperorality and dysexecutive neuropsychological profile). ‘Probable’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia adds functional disability and characteristic neuroimaging, while behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia ‘with definite frontotemporal lobar degeneration’ requires histopathological confirmation or a pathogenic mutation. Sixteen brain banks contributed cases meeting histopathological criteria for frontotemporal lobar degeneration and a clinical diagnosis of behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies or vascular dementia at presentation. Cases with predominant primary progressive aphasia or extra-pyramidal syndromes were excluded. In these autopsy-confirmed cases, an experienced neurologist or psychiatrist ascertained clinical features necessary for making a diagnosis according to previous and proposed criteria at presentation. Of 137 cases where features were available for both proposed and previously established criteria, 118 (86%) met ‘possible’ criteria, and 104 (76%) met criteria for ‘probable’ behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia. In contrast, 72 cases (53%) met previously established criteria for the syndrome (P < 0.001 for comparison with ‘possible’ and ‘probable’ criteria). Patients who failed to meet revised criteria were significantly older and most had atypical presentations with marked memory impairment. In conclusion, the revised criteria for behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia improve diagnostic accuracy compared with previously established criteria in a sample with known frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Greater sensitivity of the proposed criteria may reflect the optimized diagnostic features, less restrictive exclusion features and a flexible structure that accommodates different initial clinical presentations. Future studies will be needed to establish the reliability and specificity of these revised diagnostic guidelines.
behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia; diagnostic criteria; frontotemporal lobar degeneration; FTD; pathology
We have followed-up on the recent genome-wide association (GWA) of the clusterin gene (CLU) with increased risk for Alzheimer disease (AD), by performing an unbiased resequencing of all CLU coding exons and regulatory regions in an extended Flanders-Belgian cohort of Caucasian AD patients and control individuals (n = 1930). Moreover, we have replicated genetic findings by targeted resequencing in independent Caucasian cohorts of French (n = 2182) and Canadian (n = 573) origin and by performing meta-analysis combining our data with previous genetic CLU screenings.
In the Flanders-Belgian cohort, we identified significant clustering in exons 5-8 of rare genetic variations leading to non-synonymous substitutions and a 9-bp insertion/deletion affecting the CLU β-chain (p = 0.02). Replicating this observation by targeted resequencing of CLU exons 5-8 in 2 independent Caucasian cohorts of French and Canadian origin identified identical as well as novel non-synonymous substitutions and small insertion/deletions. A meta-analysis, combining the datasets of the 3 cohorts with published CLU sequencing data, confirmed that rare coding variations in the CLU β-chain were significantly enriched in AD patients (ORMH = 1.96 [95% CI = 1.18-3.25]; p = 0.009). Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) association analysis indicated the common AD risk association (GWA SNP rs11136000, p = 0.013) in the 3 combined datasets could not be explained by the presence of the rare coding variations we identified. Further, high-density SNP mapping in the CLU locus mapped the common association signal to a more 5' CLU region.
We identified a new genetic risk association of AD with rare coding CLU variations that is independent of the 5' common association signal identified in the GWA studies. At this stage the role of these coding variations and their likely effect on the β-chain domain and CLU protein functioning remains unclear and requires further studies.
Alzheimer disease; clusterin gene (CLU); genomic resequencing; non-synonymous substitutions; insertions/deletions; β-chain domain; meta-analysis
We sought to identify new susceptibility loci for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through a staged association study (GERAD+) and by testing suggestive loci reported by the Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Consortium (ADGC). First, we undertook a combined analysis of four genome-wide association datasets (Stage 1) and identified 10 novel variants with P≤1×10−5. These were tested for association in an independent sample (Stage 2). Three SNPs at two loci replicated and showed evidence for association in a further sample (Stage 3). Meta-analyses of all data provide compelling evidence that ABCA7 (meta-P 4.5×10−17; including ADGC meta-P=5.0×10−21) and the MS4A gene cluster (rs610932, meta-P=1.8×10−14; including ADGC meta-P=1.2×10−16; rs670139, meta-P=1.4×10−9; including ADGC meta-P=1.1×10−10) are novel susceptibility loci for AD. Second, we observed independent evidence for association for three suggestive loci reported by the ADGC GWAS, which when combined shows genome-wide significance: CD2AP (GERAD+ P=8.0×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=8.6×10−9), CD33 (GERAD+ P=2.2×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=1.6×10−9) and EPHA1 (GERAD+ P=3.4×10−4; including ADGC meta-P=6.0×10−10). These findings support five novel susceptibility genes for AD.
Since previous observations indicated that the urea cycle may have a role in the Alzheimer’s disease (AD) process, we set out to quantify the expression of each gene involved in the urea cycle in control and AD brains and establish whether these genes could be genetic determinants of AD. We first confirmed that all the urea cycle enzyme genes are expressed in the AD brain. The expression of arginase 2 was greater in the AD brain than in the control brain. The presence of the rare arginase 2 allele rs742869 was associated with an increase in the risk of AD in men and with an earlier age at onset for both genders. None of the other genes in the pathway appeared to be differentially expressed in the AD brain or act as genetic determinants of the disease.
Alzheimer's disease; urea cycle; citrulline NO cycle; ammonium; nitric oxide; polyamines; arginase; association study
The only established genetic determinant of non-Mendelian forms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). Recently, it has been reported that the P86L polymorphism of the calcium homeostasis modulator 1 gene (CALHM1) is associated with the risk of developing AD. In order to independently assess this association, we performed a meta-analysis of 7,873 AD cases and 13,274 controls of Caucasian origin (from a total of 24 centres in Belgium, Finland, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA). Our results indicate that the CALHM1 P86L polymorphism is likely not a genetic determinant of AD but may modulate age at onset by interacting with the effect of the ε4 allele of the APOE gene.
The microtubule associated protein Tau is mainly expressed in neurons of the central nervous system and is crucial in axonal maintenance and axonal transport. The rationale for Tau as a biomarker of neurodegenerative diseases is that it is a major component of abnormal intraneuronal aggregates observed in numerous of these diseases named Tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease. The molecular diversity of Tau is very useful when analysing it in the brain or in the peripheral fluids. Immunohistochemical and biochemical characterisation of Tau aggregates in the brain allows the post-mortem classification and differential diagnosis of Tauopathies. As peripheral biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease in the cerebrospinal fluid, Tau proteins are now validated for diagnosis and predictive purposes. For the future, the detailed characterization of Tau in brain and in peripheral fluids will lead to novel promising biomarkers for differential diagnosis of dementia and monitoring of therapeutics.
Alzheimer's disease; biomarker; microtubule-associated Tau protein; neurofibrillary degeneration; phosphorylation; tauopathies
To examine the association between use of medications with anticholinergic properties, cognitive decline and incident dementia in a large community-based sample of subjects aged 65 years and over.
Participants were 4128 women and 2784 men from a population-based cohort recruited from three French cities. Cognitive performance, clinical diagnosis of dementia and anticholinergic use were evaluated at base-line, 2 and 4 year later.
7.5% of subjects reported anticholinergic drug use at base-line. Multivariate adjusted logistic regression indicated that women reporting anticholinergic drugs at base-line showed greater decline over four years in verbal fluency scores (OR=1.41, CI=1.11–1.79) and in global cognitive functioning (OR=1.22, CI=0.96–1.55) than women not using anticholinergic drugs. In men, an association was found with decline in visual memory (OR=1.63, CI=1.08–2.47) and to a lesser extent in executive function (OR=1.47, CI=0.89–2.44). Significant interactions were observed in women between anticholinergic use and age, apolipoprotein E, or hormone replacement therapy. A significantly 1.4–2 fold higher risk of cognitive decline was observed for continuous anticholinergic users but not for those having discontinued. The risk of incident dementia over the four-year followup was also increased in continuous users (HR=1.65, CI=1.00–2.73) but not in those having discontinued anticholinergic drugs (HR=1.28, CI=0.59–2.76).
Elderly people taking anticholinergic drugs were at increased risk for cognitive decline and dementia. Discontinuing anticholinergic treatment was associated with a decreased risk. Physicians should carefully consider prescription of anticholinergic drugs in elderly people especially in the oldest old and persons at high genetic risk of cognitive disorder.
Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Cholinergic Antagonists; adverse effects; Cognition; drug effects; Dementia; chemically induced; genetics; Female; Genetic Predisposition to Disease; Humans; Longitudinal Studies; Male; Sex Factors; Anticholinergics; apolipoprotein E; cognitive decline; dementia; elderly; gender.
During normal megakaryocyte development, in response to thrombopoetin, mature cells enter a senescence-like state in which they shed platelets; this state, characterized by cell cycle arrest, is defective in malignant megakaryocytes.
Thrombopoietin (TPO) via signaling through its cognate receptor MPL is a key cytokine involved in the regulation of megakaryocyte differentiation leading to platelet production. Mature megakaryocytes are polyploid cells that have arrested DNA replication and cellular proliferation but continue sustained protein synthesis. Here, we show that TPO induces cell-cycle arrest in the megakaryocytic UT7-MPL cell line by the activation of the ERK/MAPK pathway, induction of p21CIP transcription, and senescence markers through EGR1 activation. A similar senescence-like process was also detected in normal primary postmitotic megakaryocytes. In contrast, senescence was not observed in malignant megakaryocytes derived from primary myelofibrosis patients (a form of chronic myeloid hemopathy). Our data indicate that polyploid mature megakaryocytes receive signals from TPO to arrest cell proliferation and enter a senescent-like state. An escape from this physiological process may be associated with certain myeloproliferative neoplasms leading to abnormal megakaryocytic proliferation.
Megakaryocytes are huge bone marrow cells that shed platelets into the blood stream to promote clotting at sites of injury. Mature megakaryocytes differentiate from precursor cells in response to a hormone called thrombopoetin. Here, we show that as part of this normal differentiation process mature megakaryocytes enter a state called senescence in which cell division stops—a feature normally associated with cell aging and death. By studying megakaryocytes in culture, we were able to determine the biochemical pathway induced by thrombopoetin that leads to gene activation associated with senescence. We conclude that thrombopoietin acts differently at two steps in megakaryocyte differentiation: in the early stages it induces megakaryocyte proliferation, and at a latter stage it arrests the cell division cycle leading to platelet production by these cells. Interestingly, certain malignant megakaryocytes did not undergo senescence in response to thrombopoetin, which might explain the abnormal proliferation of these cancerous cells.
Subclinical vascular or degenerative lesions occur in the brain before the clinical expression of dementia. Those lesions in a brain that just experienced a stroke may have lower thresholds for early epileptic seizures. Therefore, epileptic seizures may be a marker of subclinical brain lesions, which may lead to dementia.
To test the hypothesis that patients with stroke who have epileptic seizures without dementia have an increased risk of new‐onset dementia.
169 consecutive patients with stroke without pre‐existing dementia recruited in the Lille Stroke/Dementia Study were investigated (90 men; 150 ischaemic strokes; median age 73 years). Pre‐stroke cognitive functions were evaluated with the Informant Questionnaire on Cognitive Decline in the Elderly (IQCODE), with a cut‐off of 104 for the diagnosis of dementia. The patients were followed up over a 3‐year period. Dementia was diagnosed with International Classification of Diseases, 10th revision criteria in survivors who underwent neurological visits, and with the IQCODE score in those who could not. The relationship between epileptic seizures and new‐onset dementia was studied within 3 years, using life‐table methods.
9 patients (5.3%; 95% CI 2.9 to 8.7%) had early seizures. Epileptic seizures were independent predictors of new‐onset dementia within 3 years after stroke (HR 3.81; 95% CI 1.13 to 12.82), with increasing age (HR 1.04; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.08), IQCODE scores at admission (HR 1.08; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.13) and diabetes mellitus (HR 3.52; 95% CI 1.46 to 8.47).
Patients with stroke who have epileptic seizures may be at increased risk of dementia. Whether cognitive follow‐up should be systematically performed in those patients remains to be validated.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by early hippocampal atrophy and cerebral Aβ peptide deposition. Using TissueInfo to screen for genes preferentially expressed in the hippocampus and located in AD linkage regions, we identified a novel gene on 10q24.33 that we call CALHM1. We show that CALHM1 encodes a multipass transmembrane glycoprotein that controls cytosolic Ca2+ concentrations and Aβ levels. CALHM1 homomultimerizes, shares strong sequence similarities with the selectivity filter of the NMDA receptor, and generates a large Ca2+ conductance across the plasma membrane. Importantly, we determined that the CALHM1 P86L polymorphism (rs2986017) is significantly associated with AD in independent case-control studies of 3,404 participants (allele-specific OR=1.44, P=2×10−10). We further found that the P86L polymorphism increases Aβ levels by interfering with CALHM1-mediated Ca2+ permeability. We propose that CALHM1 encodes an essential component of a novel cerebral Ca2+ channel that controls Aβ levels and susceptibility to AD.