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Can Genes Determine an Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategy’s Effectiveness?

Can Genes Determine an Alzheimer’s Prevention Strategy’s Effectiveness?

You already know that some genes can affect your risk of developing a disease. But did you know that scientists believe that those genes may also affect whether a given treatment can protect your brain?

People who carry the E4 variant of apolipoprotein E (APOE4) are more likely to develop late-onset Alzheimer's disease than people who carry APOE2 or APOE3 variants. But some research also suggests that APOE4 carriers can be more or less likely to respond positively to different actions and treatments thought to protect the brain. For example, some research suggests that the brains of APOE4 carriers are more likely to benefit from exercise and hypertension management, but less likely to benefit from the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA.

Because many of us can now choose to learn our APOE status, scientists at the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation have updated Cognitive Vitality to include an overview of what apolipoprotein E means for your health. New reports on Cognitive Vitality will also evaluate evidence that a prevention tactic could be more or less effective in APOE4 carriers. In many cases, no evidence exists because many ideas for prevention have not been adequately researched. If some evidence does exist for an interaction, however, we'll add it to our ratings.

Dr. Penny Dacks was previously the Director of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention at the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. She was trained in neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the University of Arizona, and Queen's University (Canada) with individual fellowships from the National Institute of Health, the Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Research Foundation, the ARCS Foundation and the Hilda and Preston Davis Foundation. She has authored over 18 peer-reviewed scientific articles and is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the Gerontological Society of America, the Endocrine Society and the Association for Women in Science.

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