Brain gene APOE e4 linked to dementia
Wednesday 14 November 2012
A gene with links to late-onset dementia is also suspected of boosting people's brains in their youth, according to a study.
People who inherit one copy of the gene variant, known as APOE e4, have up to four times the normal risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in later life.
Neuroscientists tested the cognitive skills of those with the gene variant, which is found in around a quarter of the population, against those without it.
They also looked at the brain structure and brain activities of both groups during the tasks.
The study, led by the University of Sussex, found that young people with the same variant performed better in attention tests, including episodic memory of words and spotting number sequences.
Experts suggested that while the e4 variant might help boost the brain in early life, it could also increase the possibility of "burnout" in old age.
Lead researcher Professor Jennifer Rusted said: "Earlier studies suggested that those with the e4 variant outperform those without it in tasks such as memory, speed of processing, mental arithmetic and verbal fluency.
"But it is also well-established that this gene is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
"The suggestion is that while this confers cognitive advantages in early life, leading to higher achievement, it may also increase susceptibility to memory failure as we enter old age.
"Our study is the first to show that subtle differences in the structure and activation of the brain during cognitive tasks in APOE e4 carriers are linked to their cognitive performance.
"It is possible that the brain over-activations that we see in youth have negative effects over the longer term and contribute to a kind of 'burnout' in older adulthood."
The study - APOE e4 polymorphism in young adults is associated with improved attention and indexed by distinct neural signatures - was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and is published in NeuroImage.
- 1 Malaysian cyclist could face disciplinary action after 'Save Gaza' gloves protest
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
- 4 McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
- 5 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
McDonald’s removes chicken nuggets from the menu in Hong Kong amid major food scare
Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
Costa Concordia finally towed from Giglio amid environmental concerns that cruise liner is a 'floating bomb'
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...