Alzheimer’s Gene Linked To Earlier Onset, Study Shows

July 16, 2009

Arizona (ChattahBox) – A new study has shown that people who have inherited the ApoE4 gene variant, which raises the risk of Alzheimer’s by more than 50 percent, are more likely to begin experiencing early symptoms on Alzheimer’s in their mid-50’s, prompting researchers to suggest early treatment for prevention in those at risk.

The study was conducted by the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. There they studied 815 patients, all between the ages of 21 and 97. Memory tests and other mental trials were conducted to study the various ages that memory loss began to present itself.

The results showed that memory loss began to appear in the mid-50’s, rather then in the 60’s, which was once believed to be the average age of Alzheimer’s onset.

“This study highlights the idea that Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder that likely begins well before clinical diagnosis. Additional research is needed to identify those at high genetic risk and develop methods to delay disease progression,” Research lead Creighton Phelps was quoted in Biz Journals.

The study has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.  In a separate study, a second team found that people who learned they had the gene were not emotionally scarred by it.


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