Neurodegenerative Diseases: Clinical Aspects, Molecular Genetics and Biomarkers
Most of the neurodegenerative diseases share several clinical, pathologic, and molecular aspects. Clinically, these diseases are often characterized by an insidious onset during adulthood, after which they progress at different rates, ultimately leading to severe physical disability or death. The symptoms are often common among the different disorders: dementia is not only peculiar of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or frontotemporal dementia (FTD), but could occur also in Parkinson’s disease (PD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
Furthermore, under a genetic point of view, many neurodegenerative diseases manifest an important family history, highlighting a relevant contribution of genetic factors to disease causation and progression.
Genetics and epigenetics, together with their new designed technologies capable of analyzing genetic variability, have disclosed an appealing scenario that will offer the biomedical sciences new insight for the study of neurodegenerative diseases, multifactorial complex, and rare diseases. In this chapter, an overview of the current genetic and epigenetic progresses in AD, FTD, PD, and ALS, reached by the application of the new genetic technologies, will be provided.
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