While just five or six of the up to 100 genes suspected of possible involvement in the disease are now known, the identification is a "monumental breakthrough" on the road to identifying nearly all suspect genes in three to five years, said Dr. Margaret Pericak-Vance of the University of Miami's medical school.
Pericak-Vance was involved in finding the first genetic evidence for Alzheimer's in the 1990s, discovered another gene last year and was part of the research effort identifying the latest four.
"As we learn more, we can get a better understanding of this complicated disease," Pericak-Vance told The Miami Herald Sunday.
New methods of analysis and new technology should accelerate the search for suspect genes in the future, she said.
The latest research was a collaborative effort among 44 university and research institutions, the Herald reported.