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Molecular Genetics of Neurodegenerative Dementias.


Neurodegenerative dementias are clinically heterogeneous, progressive diseases with frequently overlapping symptoms, such as cognitive impairments and behavior and movement deficits. Although a majority of cases appear to be sporadic, there is a large genetic component that has yet to be fully explained. Here, we review the recent genetic and genomic findings pertaining to Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia, Lewy body dementia, and prion dementia. In this review, we describe causal and susceptibility genes identified for these dementias and discuss recent research pertaining to the molecular function of these genes. Of particular interest, there is a large overlap in clinical phenotypes, genes, and/or aggregating protein products involved in these diseases, as well as frequent comorbid presentation, indicating that these dementias may represent a continuum of syndromes rather than individual diseases.

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