An international team of researchers at Florida's Mayo Clinic have discovered a genetic factor which could explain why some people have more immunity against the onset of dementia.
According to the research, people with a mutated progranulin gene who also have two copies of a certain type of the TMEM106B are much less likely to develop front temporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) – and if they do develop the illness, the onset of it may be significantly delayed.
Commenting on the findings, neuroscientist and lead author of the study Dr Rosa Rademakers said: "The protective form of TMEM106B leads to higher levels of progranulin in the blood.
"Whether it also increases the levels of progranulin in the brain has not yet been studied and will be the focus of our future research."
The Alzheimer's Society points out that the term dementia is an umbrella expression which is used to describe brain symptoms found when someone is afflicted by certain conditions.
In fronto-temporal dementia, the damage to the brain is often in the front of the organ.