NEW HAVEN, Conn., April 6 (UPI) -- A U.S.-led international team of scientists has identified three new genetic variants that increase a person's risk of developing brain aneurysms.
The investigators, led by Yale University's School of Medicine, said their findings came from the largest genome-wide study of brain aneurysms ever conducted.
The study involved more than 20,000 people and brings to five the number of regions of the genome that have been found to contribute to brain aneurysms, the scientists said.
"These findings provide important new insights into the causes of intracranial aneurysms and are a critical step forward in the development of a diagnostic test that can identify people at high risk prior to the emergence of symptoms," said Yale Professor Murat Gunel, senior author of the study. "Given the often-devastating consequences of the bleeding in the brain, early detection can be the difference between life and death."
The international collaboration was headed by Gunel and Yale Professor Richard Lifton. The research involved 69 other scientists from 32 institutions in 10 nations. They analyzed 5,891 aneurysm patients from Japan and Europe and 14,181 unaffected subjects.
The researchers determined a person carrying all of the genetic risk variants identified by the Yale-led team is five to seven times more likely to suffer an aneurysm than those who have none of the variants.
The study is reported in the early online edition of the journal Nature Genetics.