After studying the brains of 515 individuals with fronto-temporal dementia (FTD), which is the second most common form of dementia in people under age 65, and comparing their findings with 2,509 non-afflicted brains, researchers from the University of Cambridge discovered a common gene on chromosome 7, according to BBC News.
Scientists found a variety of unique mutations on chromosome 7. The mutations increase the protein amounts coded for by the gene. Approximately 20% of people suffering from FTD possess another type of mutation known as GRN mutation. It’s believed that the newly discovered gene accelerates the damage caused by the GRN mutation, thus making the symptoms associated with FTD progress more rapidly. FTD is known to shrink the front of the brain and can lead to an absolute change in personality.