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 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Junior VB.NET ...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# .NET Web De...