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Elife. 2019 Jun 18;8. pii: e46179. doi: 10.7554/eLife.46179.

Family history of Alzheimer's disease alters cognition and is modified by medical and genetic factors.

Author information

1
The Translational Genomics Research Institute, Phoenix, United States.
2
Arizona Alzheimer's Consortium, Phoenix, United States.
3
Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway.
4
University of Miami, Miami, United States.
5
University of Arizona, Tucson, United States.

Abstract

In humans, a first-degree family history of dementia (FH) is a well-documented risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD); however, the influence of FH on cognition across the lifespan is poorly understood. To address this issue, we developed an internet-based paired-associates learning (PAL) task and tested 59,571 participants between the ages of 18-85. FH was associated with lower PAL performance in both sexes under 65 years old. Modifiers of this effect of FH on PAL performance included age, sex, education, and diabetes. The Apolipoprotein E ε4 allele was also associated with lower PAL scores in FH positive individuals. Here we show, FH is associated with reduced PAL performance four decades before the typical onset of AD; additionally, several heritable and non-heritable modifiers of this effect were identified.

KEYWORDS:

Alzheimer's Disease; Apolipoprotein E (APOE); dementia; family history; human; human biology; internet-based; medicine; neuroscience; paired-associates learning

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