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Understanding how Alzheimer's genes vary based on race and sex.

The Alzheimer’s Gene That Varies By Race & Sex

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The Alzheimer’s Gene That Varies By Race & Sex

You probably know that there are important genetic factors that increase or decrease Alzheimer’s Risk. If you’d like a quick refresher before we carry on, here are two previous articles on this topic:

A Tale of Two Alleles

It has generally been understood that APOE-ε2 lowers Alzheimer’s disease risk, and APOE-ε4 increases it.

However, for reasons beyond the scope of this article, research populations for genetic testing are overwhelmingly white. If you, dear reader, are white, you may be thinking “well, I’m white, so this isn’t a problem for me”, you might still want to read on…

An extensive new study, published days ago, by Dr. Belloy et al., looked at how these correlations held out per race and sex. They found:

  • The “APOE-ε2 lowers; APOE-ε4 increases” dictum held out strongest for white people.
  • In the case of Hispanic people, there was only a small correlation on the APOE-ε4 side of things, and none on the APOE-ε2 side of things per se.
  • East Asians also saw no correlation with regard to APOE-ε2 per se.
  • But! Hispanic and East Asian people had a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s if and only if they had both APOE-ε2 and APOE-ε4.
  • Black people, meanwhile, saw a slight correlation with regard to the protective effect of APOE-ε2, and as for APOE-ε4, if they had any European ancestry, increased European ancestry meant a higher increased risk factor if they had APOE-ε4. African ancestry, on the other hand, had a protective effect, proportional to the overall amount of that ancestry.

And as for sex…

  • Specifically for white people with the APOE-ε3/ε4 genotype, especially in the age range of 60–70, the genetic risk for Alzheimer’s was highest in women.

If you’d like to read more and examine the data for yourself:

APOE Genotype and Alzheimer Disease Risk Across Age, Sex, and Population Ancestry

Want to reduce your Alzheimer’s risk?

We have just the thing for you:

How To Reduce Your Alzheimer’s Risk: It’s Never Too Early To Do These 11 Things

Take care!

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