23 Aug Patients Genetically Predisposed to Alzheimer’s Have Difficulty Accessing Memories
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Claude Alain PhD
Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Adults carrying a gene associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease had a harder time accessing recently acquired knowledge, even though they didn’t show any symptoms of memory problems.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Researchers found that older adults carrying a specific strain of the gene, apolipoprotein E4, otherwise known as APOE4, weren’t able to tap into information they had just learned to assist them on a listening test. These findings suggest greater difficulty for these individuals to access knowledge from their memory to guide their attention in ways that would have improved their performance. This work could lead to the development of new ways to detect individuals at risk.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: This research could lead to more sensitive methods of detecting Alzheimer’s disease in its very earliest stages, the time at which treatments are most likely to be effective.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: As next steps, researchers continue to explore how the brain’s ability to process what is heard changes with neurodegenerative conditions, such as mild cognitive impairment.
Future studies should also look at this type of memory problems among APOE4 carriers in longitudinal studies and its relationship to Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers, such as beta-amyloid accumulation.
Jacqueline Zimmermann, Claude Alain, Chris Butler. Impaired memory-guided attention in asymptomatic APOE4 carriers. Scientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-44471-1
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