Understanding of the human genome and genetic mutations leads to improved detection of, and prevention methods for, the onset of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
For a look ahead, Thomson Reuters analysts consulted the Web of Science and Derwent World Patents Index to identify rapid progress and emergent trends in scientific research and technological innovation, gauging the advances most likely to affect health and the quality of life in the next decade.
With many societies facing the prospect of an aging populace, a key challenge is confronting age-related neurodegenerative disease. Genomic research will aid the fight.
Analysis and understanding of the human genome will have far-reaching effects in 2025. As Baby Boomers begin to reach their 80s, more and more scientific research funds will be directed toward afflictions they may encounter.
Current neurodegenerative disease research is focused on identifying pathogenic chromosomes that influence the onset of diseases. This work is vital to understanding human genetic variations and will enable scientists to begin to fix genetic malfunctions, such as those impacting dementia patients.
Scientific studies of dementia sufferers have been able to isolate specific chromosomes that cause different forms of the disease, including autosomal dominant frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), among others. The identification of chromosome 9p and its genetic link to dementia, for instance, is a first step in the war on this devastating condition.
In 2025, the studies of genetic mutations causing dementia, coupled with improved detection and onset-prevention methods, will result in far fewer people suffering from it.
Such fundamental research is not yet represented in patents, because pure medical research may not be patented. As techniques and enabling technologies develop, it will be more visible in patent publications. And, as the global population ages, preventing these diseases through understanding the genetics will become increasingly important.
A gene identification study on
Research on chromosome 9P and its link to FTD and ALS has been the most highly cited since 2011
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