Gene study sheds light on memory power and performance

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Dementia Training-Care Industry News (300 x 199)Researchers led by the University of Edinburgh have discovered people with gene variants are more likely to have memory problems even if they are cognitively healthy according to research published today (26 November 2014).

The Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology (CHARGE) Constortium, which includes experts at the University of Edinburgh, analysed data from 30,000 people, aged more than 45 years old.

The participants’ – none of whom had dementia – took memory tests that included recalling set words and stories after assigned time period.  Researchers then analysed the results alongside details of each person’s genome to identify genetic variants or changes associated with lower memory scores.  People with lower scores overall were found to have variants near a gene called Apolipoprotein E and another gene involved in immune response.

Alzheimer’s Society comment:

Jess Smith, Research Officer at Alzheimer’s Society:

‘We’ve long known that variations in the gene APOE affect the likelihood that someone will develop Alzheimer’s disease. This interesting study suggests that variations in nearby genes could also play a part in memory even in those who are otherwise cognitively healthy.

Rather than using information like this to predict people’s risk of developing dementia, these findings could be helpful in working out how the brain ages and help us to understand more about the development of dementia.’

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