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Genes and Vascular Risk Modify Effects of Aging on Brain and Cognition

(Science Daily) [New research] focuses on carriers of the ε4 variant of the apolipoprotein (APOE) gene, present in roughly 25 percent of the population. Compared to those who possess other forms of the APOE gene, carriers of the ε4 allele are at significantly greater risk for Alzheimer's, dementia and cardiovascular disease…
The study concludes that the APOE ε4 gene may make its carriers sensitive to negative effects of relatively subtle elevations in systolic blood pressure, and that the interplay between two risk factors, genetic and physiological, is detrimental to the key brain structures and associated cognitive functions.
[Said the study authors], "The negative impact of many genetic variations needs help from other risk factors, and while there isn't much one can do about genes, a lot can be done about vascular risk factors such as blood pressure or cholesterol."
"Everybody should try to keep those in check, although people with certain genetic variants more so than others." [study leader Naftali Raz, Ph.D.] said. "Practically speaking, even with the best deck of genetic cards dealt to you, it still makes sense to reduce risk through whatever works: exercise, diet or, if those fail, medication."
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