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Research dismisses link between E4 gene and Alzheimer's

Research dismisses link between E4 gene and Alzheimer's
13th February 2013

A team of US researchers has published a study that defies the popular belief that carrying a specific gene increase a person's chance of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists from Cornell University discovered carriers of the E4 gene are more likely to develop cognitive impairment, but this does not necessarily mean Alzheimer's.

According to the results of this investigation, people who carry the gene are 58 per cent more likely to develop cognitive impairment than those who do not. However, those with the E4 gene developed Alzheimer's disease at the same rate as non-carriers.

The team also noted that E4 can be detected in adults in their early 20s.

Dr Charles Brainerd, who led the study, suggests the current tests for the gene in older adults with cognitive impairment are of little benefit.

"Impaired people think that tests will tell them if they are at increased risk of Alzheimer's, which they won't. And healthy people think that tests won't tell them whether they are at increased risk of cognitive impairment, which they will," he explained.

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