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Beta amyloid build-up in the brain may increase risk of cognitive impairment more than having “Alzheimer’s gene”

Plaque Build-Up in Your Brain May Be More Harm­ful Than Hav­ing Alzheimer’s Gene (Sci­ence Daily):

A new study shows that hav­ing a high amount of beta amy­loid or “plaques” in the brain asso­ci­ated with Alzheimer’s dis­ease may cause steeper mem­ory decline in men­tally healthy older peo­ple than does hav­ing the APOE Ε4 allele, also asso­ci­ated with the dis­ease. “Our results show that plaques may be a more impor­tant fac­tor in deter­min­ing which peo­ple are at greater risk for cog­ni­tive impair­ment or other mem­ory dis­eases such as Alzheimer’s dis­ease,” said study author Yen Ying Lim, MPsych, with the Uni­ver­sity of Mel­bourne in Vic­to­ria, Aus­tralia. “Unfor­tu­nately, test­ing for the APOE geno­type is eas­ier and much less costly than con­duct­ing amy­loid imaging.”

Study: Stronger effect of amy­loid load than APOE geno­type on cog­ni­tive decline in healthy older adults (Neu­rol­ogy). From the Abstract:

  • Objec­tive: Although the APOE ϵ4 allele is asso­ci­ated with more rapid decline in mem­ory in healthy older adults, the sig­nif­i­cance of ele­vated cere­bral β-amyloid (Aβ) load for lon­gi­tu­di­nal changes in cog­ni­tion is unclear.
  • Con­clu­sions: In this prospec­tive study of healthy older adults, high cere­bral Aβ load was asso­ci­ated with greater decline in episodic and work­ing mem­ory over 18 months. The APOE ϵ4 geno­type was also asso­ci­ated with a decline in visual mem­ory, although the effect was less than that observed for cere­bral Aβ load.

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