AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Study Provides Robust Evidence of Sex Differences with Alzheimer’s Gene

The APOE gene, the strongest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, may play a more prominent role in disease development among women than men, according to new research from the Vanderbilt Memory and Alzheimer’s Center.

The research confirmed recent studies that carrying the allele has a greater association with Alzheimer’s disease among women compared to men, and went one step further by evaluating its association with amyloid and tau levels.

The study adds to mounting evidence that the higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease among women may not simply be a consequence of longer longevity. Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women. The research, based on a meta-analysis of both cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) samples from study volunteers from four datasets and autopsy findings from six datasets of Alzheimer-diseased brains, is the most robust evidence to date that the APOE gene may play a greater role in women than men in developing Alzheimer’s pathology, said Timothy J. Hohman, PhD, assistant professor of Neurology and the study’s lead author. 

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