Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Longevity gene' helps prevent memory decline and dementia

Date:
January 13, 2010
Source:
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Summary:
Scientists have found that a "longevity gene" helps to slow age-related decline in brain function in older adults. Drugs that mimic the gene's effect are now under development, the researchers note, and could help protect against Alzheimer's disease.

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that a "longevity gene" helps to slow age-related decline in brain function in older adults. Drugs that mimic the gene's effect are now under development, the researchers note, and could help protect against Alzheimer's disease.
Credit: iStockphoto/Anne De Haas

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that a "longevity gene" helps to slow age-related decline in brain function in older adults. Drugs that mimic the gene's effect are now under development, the researchers note, and could help protect against Alzheimer's disease.

The paper describing the Einstein study is published in the January 13 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Most work on the genetics of Alzheimer's disease has focused on factors that increase the danger," said Richard B. Lipton, M.D., the Lotti and Bernard Benson Faculty Scholar in Alzheimer's Disease and professor and vice chair in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein and senior author of the paper. As an example, he cites APOE ε4, a gene variant involved in cholesterol metabolism that is known to increase the risk of Alzheimer's among those who carry it.

"We reversed this approach," says Dr. Lipton, "and instead focused on a genetic factor that protects against age-related illnesses, including both memory decline and Alzheimer's disease."

In a 2003 study, Dr. Lipton and his colleagues identified the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene variant as a "longevity gene" in a population of Ashkenazi Jews. The favorable CETP gene variant increases blood levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) -- the so-called good cholesterol -- and also results in larger-than-average HDL and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles.

The researchers of the current study hypothesized that the CETP longevity gene might also be associated with less cognitive decline as people grow older. To find out, they examined data from 523 participants from the Einstein Aging Study, an ongoing federally funded project that has followed a racially and ethnically diverse population of elderly Bronx residents for 25 years.

At the beginning of the study, the 523 participants -- all of them 70 or over -- were cognitively healthy, and their blood samples were analyzed to determine which CETP gene variant they carried. They were then followed for an average of four years and tested annually to assess their rates of cognitive decline, the incidence of Alzheimer's disease and other changes.

"We found that people with two copies of the longevity variant of CETP had slower memory decline and a lower risk for developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease," says Amy E. Sanders, M.D., assistant professor in the Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology at Einstein and lead author of the paper. "More specifically, those participants who carried two copies of the favorable CETP variant had a 70 percent reduction in their risk for developing Alzheimer's disease compared with participants who carried no copies of this gene variant."

The favorable gene variant alters CETP so that the protein functions less well than usual. Dr. Lipton notes that drugs are now being developed that duplicate this effect on the CETP protein. "These agents should be tested for their ability to promote successful aging and prevent Alzheimer's disease," he recommends.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Aging, one of the 27 institutes and centers of the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sanders et al. Association of a Functional Polymorphism in the Cholesteryl Ester Transfer Protein (CETP) Gene With Memory Decline and Incidence of Dementia. JAMA The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 303 (2): 150 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2009.1988

Cite This Page:

Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "'Longevity gene' helps prevent memory decline and dementia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112165234.htm>.
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. (2010, January 13). 'Longevity gene' helps prevent memory decline and dementia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112165234.htm
Albert Einstein College of Medicine. "'Longevity gene' helps prevent memory decline and dementia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100112165234.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Scientists Create Stem Cells From Adult Skin Cells

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) The breakthrough could mean a cure for some serious diseases and even the possibility of human cloning, but it's all still a way off. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins