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Biol Psychiatry. 2008 Nov 15;64(10):904-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.07.004. Epub 2008 Aug 22.

Decreased cognition in children with risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

Author information

1
San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego, Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, San Diego, CA, USA. cbloss@scripps.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The epsilon4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE-epsilon4) and a family history (+FH) of Alzheimer's disease (AD) are both risk factors for the development of AD. Although studies to identify a preclinical phase of AD have led to evidence of APOE-epsilon4- and +FH-related differences in brain and cognitive functioning in healthy adults, the relative influence of these factors in children is unknown.

METHODS:

To investigate this issue, school-age children (n = 109) received standardized achievement tests, the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test (Copy Condition; RCFT-CC), assessment of family medical history, and buccal swab testing to determine their APOE genotype.

RESULTS:

Analyses revealed that, relative to children without these risk factors, children who possess both an APOE-epsilon4 allele and a +FH of AD and/or significant memory problems (MP) obtained lower scores on nearly every cognitive test administered.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings suggest that when both AD risk factors are present, cognition may be adversely affected as early as childhood. Thus, risk factors for a disorder of pathological aging (i.e., AD) may have implications for the etiology of certain types of learning difficulties in children.

PMID:
18722591
PMCID:
PMC2607139
DOI:
10.1016/j.biopsych.2008.07.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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