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Neuropsychology. 2015 May;29(3):382-387. doi: 10.1037/neu0000147. Epub 2014 Nov 3.

Association of the apolipoprotein E genotype with memory performance and executive functioning in cognitively intact elderly.

Author information

1
Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health and LIFE - Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases, University of Leipzig.
2
Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health, University of Leipzig.
3
University of Leipzig.
4
Institute of Laboratory Medicine, Clinical Chemistry and Molecular Diagnostics, University Hospital Leipzig.
5
Institute for Medical Informatics, Statistics and Epidemiology, University of Leipzig.
6
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To test for a possible effect of the apolipoprotein E epsilon 4 (APOE ε4) allele on memory performance and executive functioning (EF) in cognitively intact elderly.

METHOD:

The authors studied 202 randomly selected and cognitively intact older adults (65+ years) of the Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases Health Care Study. Intact global cognitive functioning was defined using a Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE) score ≥ 28. Performance in memory was assessed with the CERAD Word List and Constructional Praxis Recall, performance in EF with the Trail Making Test Part B (TMT-B). Multivariable linear regressions were used to evaluate the association between cognitive performance and APOE status, controlled for covariates.

RESULTS:

Among the cognitively intact older adults, 21.3% (n = 43) were carriers of the APOE ε4 allele. Carriers did not differ significantly from noncarriers in terms of age, gender, intelligence level, or performance in memory but showed a significantly lower TMT-B performance as a measure of EF (TMT-B M time/SD = 105.6/36.2 vs. 91.9/32.7 s; Mann-Whitney U = 4,313.000; p = .009). The association between lower TMT-B performance and APOE ε4 genotype remained significant in multivariable linear regression analysis. Similar findings were found for the subsample of those 78 elderly, who reached a perfect MMSE-score of 30.

CONCLUSIONS:

A lower EF performance in cognitively intact older APOE ε4 allele carriers might be related to an early Alzheimer's dementia (AD) prodrome. In this case, a stronger focus on first subtle changes in EF may help to improve early AD detection in those being at genetic risk.

PMID:
25365563
DOI:
10.1037/neu0000147
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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