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Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Nov;34(11):2445-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2013.05.002. Epub 2013 Jun 4.

Exceptional memory performance in the Long Life Family Study.

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Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Neurology, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Research to understand variability at the highest end of the cognitive performance distribution has been scarce. Our aim was to define a cognitive endophenotype based on exceptional episodic memory (EM) performance and to investigate familial aggregation of EM in families from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS). Using a sample of 1911 nondemented offspring of long-lived probands, we created a quantitative phenotype, EM (memory z ≥ 1.5), and classified LLFS families as EM and non-EM families based on the number of EM offspring. We then assessed differences in memory performance between LLFS relatives in the parental generation of EM families and those in non-EM families using multivariate analysis adjusted for APOE Apolipoprotein E genotype. LLFS relatives in the proband generation from EM families showed better EM performance than those from non-EM families (β = 0.74, standard error = 0.19, p = 1.4 × 10(-4)). We demonstrated that there is a familial correlation of the EM endophenotype, suggesting that genetic variants might influence memory performance in long-lived families.


Exceptional memory; Genetic variants; Long Life Family Study; Quantitative trait

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