Monday, April 1, 2013

APOE-e4 Carriers May Be Able to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

Individuals who have one or more copies of APOE-e4, the well-documented Alzheimer risk gene variant, may be able to lessen their risk for getting Alzheimer's, a study headed by Karen Rodrigue, Ph.D., an assistant professor of behavior and brain sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, and published in JAMA Neurology suggests. And the way they may be able to do so is by controlling high blood pressure.

The study included 118 cognitively normal adults aged 47 to 89, who were screened for APOE-e4, high blood pressure, and amyloid plaque deposits in the brain—a hallmark of Alzheimer's. The researchers found that subjects who had one or more copies of APOE-e4 and high blood pressure had more amyloid deposits than did those who had one or more copies of APOE-e4 and no high blood pressure. However, individuals who had APOE-e4 and were taking medication for high blood pressure showed significantly fewer amyloid deposits than did subjects with APOE-e4 and unmedicated high blood pressure.

Rodrigue and her colleagues will be following these subjects to see how the groups compared in terms of development of Alzheimer's, she told Psychiatric News. However, "Keep in mind that our study was focused on a normal aging population, so it may be several years out before any of them show clinically significant decline," she said.

See a report on research on the APOE-e4 variant in Psychiatric News. More information about Alzheimer's can be found in American Psychiatric Publishing's Clinical Manual of Alzheimer Disease and Other Dementias.

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