29 Aug Gene Helps Explain Why More Women Than Men Have Alzheimer’s
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Arthur W. Toga PhD
Provost Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, Psychiatry and The Behavioral Sciences,
Radiology and Engineering
Ghada Irani Chair in Neuroscience
Director, USC Mark and Mary Stevens Neuroimaging and informatics institute
USC Institute for Neuroimaging and Informatics
Keck School of Medicine of USC
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90032
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The ε4 allele of the Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene is the main genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease. This study reexamines and corrects the sex-dependent risks that white men and women with one copy of the ε4 allele face for developing Alzheimer’s disease using a very large data set of 57,979 North Americans and Europeans from the Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network (GAAIN).
The study results show that these men and women between the ages of 55 and 85 have the same odds of developing Alzheimer’s disease, with the exception that women face significantly higher risks than men between the ages of 65 and 75. Further, these women showed increased risk over men between the ages of 55 and 70 for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which is often a transitional phase to dementia.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Response: How clinical trials could be weighted toward women — a susceptible part of the population — to help scientists more rapidly identify effective drug interventions to slow or cure Alzheimer’s. Almost two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease today are women.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Researchers could study women 10, 15 or even 20 years before their most vulnerable period (physiologic changes associated with menopause and estrogen loss on average begin at 51 years of age) to see if there are any detectable signals to suggest increased risk for Alzheimer’s in 15 years.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: This study corrects a previous study published 20 years ago with 9 times more data. It also demonstrates the power of big data aggregation.
Disclosures: The study was supported by the Alzheimer’s Association through the Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network initiative.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Neu SC, Pa J, Kukull W, Beekly D, Kuzma A, Gangadharan P, Wang L, Romero K, Arneric SP, Redolfi A, Orlandi D, Frisoni GB, Au R, Devine S, Auerbach S, Espinosa A, Boada M, Ruiz A, Johnson SC, Koscik R, Wang J, Hsu W, Chen Y, Toga AW. Apolipoprotein E Genotype and Sex Risk Factors for Alzheimer DiseaseA Meta-analysis. JAMA Neurol. Published online August 28, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.2188
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