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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 ?4 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 ?4 allele is asso­ci­at­ed with more rapid decline in mem­o­ry in healthy old­er adults, the sig­nif­i­cance of ele­vat­ed cere­bral ?-amy­loid (A?) load for lon­gi­tu­di­nal changes in cog­ni­tion is unclear.
  • Con­clu­sions: In this prospec­tive study of healthy old­er adults, high cere­bral A? load was asso­ci­at­ed with greater decline in episod­ic and work­ing mem­o­ry over 18 months. The APOE ?4 geno­type was also asso­ci­at­ed with a decline in visu­al mem­o­ry, although the effect was less than that observed for cere­bral A? load.

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