Alzheimer's & Other Dementias

Latest news

  • Very large study finds 5 new genes linked to increased Alzheimer's risk.
  • A rare gene variant that protects APOE4 gene carriers from getting Alzheimer's has been identified.
  • Two large surveys found that verbal recall score was significantly affected by TOMM40 genotype. TOMM40 is adjacent to APOE on their chromosome.
  • A study found that TOMM40's effect on Alzheimer's depends on parental history.
  • Data from three very large studies has produced a tool for assessing an individual's genetic risk for developing Alzheimer's, based on 31 genetic markers.
  • A small study found that, of the top 9 genes that affect Alzheimer's risk, excluding the APOE gene, only 2 affect brain atrophy.
  • A new gene variant that is associated with greater amyloid plaque than APOE4 has been identified.

Five new risk genes for Alzheimer's disease

Genetic data from more than 94,000 individuals has revealed five new risk genes for Alzheimer's disease, and confirmed 20 known others. The new genes are: IQCK, ACE, ADAM10, ADAMTS1 and WWOX.

  • Brain scans suggest that tau proteins may spread more rapidly through women’s brains, increasing Alzheimer's risk and speeding its progression.

Accumulating evidence suggests that tau spreads through brain tissue like an infection, traveling from

  • Review found APOE4 carriers scored lower on IQ tests during childhood and adolescence.
  • A large internet-based study found that adults with a first-degree relative with Alzheimer's performed worse on a paired-learning task.

Alzheimer's gene affects IQ from childhood

Analysis of some old longitudinal studies has found that those carrying the APOE4 gene scored lower on IQ tests during childhood and adolescence. The effect was much stronger in girls than in boys, and affected reasoning most strongly.

  • A gene present in 75% of the human population may be a key reason why a class of drugs for Alzheimer’s disease seem promising in animal studies but fail in human studies.
  • Cell study finds APOE4 protein is slightly misshapen, causing it to break down into disease-causing fragments. But APOE4 doesn't affect amyloid-beta in mice.

Data from a ten-year study involving 345 Alzheimer's patients has found that

  • Getting a good night’s sleep is given greater importance with the discovery that sleep deprivation appears to rapidly increase the spread of tau tangles.

Poor sleep has been associated with the development of Alzheimer's disease, and this has been thought to be in part because the protein amyloid beta increases with sleep deprivation. A new study explains more.

  • A short exercise program improved cognition and brain blood flow in older adults with mild cognitive impairment.

A small study has found that a 12-week exercise program significantly improved cognition in both older adults with

  • Preliminary research suggests that microbes in the gut directly affects dementia risk.

A Japanese study looking at 128 patients' fecal samples, found that fecal concentrations of ammonia, indole, skatole and phenol were higher in dementia patients compared to those without dementia, while levels of beneficial Bacteroides were lower in dementia patients.

  • A large clinical trial comparing the effects on cardiovascular disease of standard blood pressure control vs stricter control, has found that stricter control significantly reduced the risk of mild cognitive impairment.

A clinical trial involving 9361 older adults (50+) with hypertension but without diabetes or history of stroke has found that intensive control of blood pressure significantly reduced the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment.

  • A large Danish study has found that the greater number of symptoms of distress in late midlife, the more likely the individual was to develop dementia later in life.

Survey data from 6,807 Danish older adults (average age 60) in the Copenhagen City Heart Study, has found that being distressed in late midlife is associated with a higher risk of dementia in later life.

  • Older people who spend less time in slow-wave sleep (deep sleep) have higher levels of the Alzheimer’s brain protein tau.

Poor sleep has been associated with Alzheimer's disease risk, but a new study suggests a specific aspect of sleep is important.

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