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Genes influence memory in families with Alzheimer's disease

were also tested to see what form of the gene apolipoprotein E, called APOE, they carried. One form of the gene has been shown to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's. The researchers then re-analyzed the results while controlling for the influence of APOE.

"The estimates of the amount of influence that genes have on memory abilities changed very little, which suggests that APOE doesn't have much affect on memory performance," Lee said.

More research is needed to determine whether the study results apply to people without multiple family members with Alzheimer's disease, Mayeux said. He also noted that the study participants differ from the general U.S. population, especially in years of education.

"Because public education was limited in the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, people in this study had an average of six years of education," he said. "Since education has been shown to protect against the development of Alzheimer's, the risk of Alzheimer's in this study group may be higher than in the U.S. population."

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Charles S. Robertson Memorial Gift for Alzheimer's Disease Research from the Banbury Fund and the Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Foundation.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, autism and multiple sclerosis.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its web site at http://www.aan.com.


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Contact: Kathy Stone
kstone@aan.com
651-695-2763
American Academy of Neurology
9-Feb-2004


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