Study Indicates That APOE4 Gene May Play Role In Alzheimer’s

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On August 15, 2011, Posted by , In Alzheimer's Disease, By ,,, , With No Comments
A study in the December 15 issue of Journal of Neuroscience suggests that that the APOE4 gene, a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, alters connections in the brain before amyloid plaque accumulates. The clinical implication of finding connectivity changes in the brain prior to amyloid accumulating is that it may offer more time to intervene before signs of dementia. Lead researcher Dr. Yvette Sheline, of the Knight Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, said, “We believe that from the time plaques begin to form, there is an average of a decade before a person develops dementia. Upon this evidence, changes in brain connections begin even earlier, so there may be an even longer “therapeutic window.” After the amyloid plaques form, it may be too late to stop cognitive decline.  The study included 100 community-dwelling older adults who did not have cognitive impairment and were participating in long-term studies of memory and aging at their center. Thirty-eight of the participants carried the APOE4 gene while 62 did not.  Based on MRI’s, the 38 participants with the APOE4 gene had significantly different functional connections of the precuneus (part of the superior parietal lobule hidden in the medial longitudinal fissure between the two cerebral hemispheres) to several regions previously defined as having abnormal connectivity in Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Gustovo C. Roman, MD, Medical Director of the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center at the Methodist Neurological Institute in Houston, Texas, explained two significant parts of the research included the ability to diagnose dementia earlier (through MRI’s), and the shift of research focus beyond amyloid plaque.

Source: Medscape News
Journal Of Neuroscience

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