In a separate study scientists found an intelligence gene which could help in the battle against Alzheimer’s and mental illness.
A team of more than 200 scientists from 100 institutions worldwide joined forces to map the human genes that boost or sabotage the brain’s resistance to a range of mental illnesses and Alzheimer’s.
The study also uncovered new genes that may explain individual differences in brain size and intelligence.
Senior author Paul Thompson, professor of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the United States, said: said: “Millions of people carry variations in their DNA that help boost or lower their brains’ susceptibility to a vast range of diseases.
“Once we identify the gene, we can target it with a drug to reduce the risk of disease. People also can take preventive steps through exercise, diet and mental stimulation to erase the effects of a bad gene.”
The findings were published in the advance online edition of the journal Nature Genetics.