As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: May 16, 2012
by Robert Bazell, Chief science and medical correspondent for NBC News:
Should high school kids get a genetic test for the risk for Alzheimer’s disease before they’re allowed to play football? Two prominent scientists who study both Alzheimer’s and the traumatic brain injury suffered by some football players raise that ethically charged question in an editorial out Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine.
We all carry a gene called APOE which comes in three forms. If we carry one copy of the form called E4, it triples our lifetime risk for Alzheimer’s. About 10 percent of the U.S. population falls in that category. If we have two copies of E4, the lifetime Alzheimer’s risk is 15 times greater. About 2 percent of us have that genetic makeup.
Although the connection between APOE E4 and Alzheimer’s risk has been known for years, few have suggested it as a screening tool because there’s no known way to prevent the mind-robbing disease. But, now as scientists want to test drugs as early as possible as potential methods of preventing Alzheimer’s, APOE is getting more attention, as are brain scans and other techniques that might determine who is at risk.
At the same time, scientists have been finding that football players, boxers and soldiers suffering blast injuries are more likely to develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the form of dementia that can follow a brain injury — if they have one or two copies of the E4 version of APOE.
Neurologist Dr. Sam Gandy of Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York and Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Steven DeKosky of the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, conducted a poll of 49 colleagues. By a 2 to 1 decision their fellow scientists said it is not yet appropriate to test high school students, and by a 3 to 1 ratio they opposed testing military recruits. But few of the scientists dismissed the ideas out of hand.
As the evidence of a connection mounts, testing may become more of an imperative.
There are obvious, enormous ethical difficulties. Telling a 14-year-old that he or she faces an increased lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s could lead to unknowable future strains on individuals and families, as well as a lifetime of difficulty in getting health and life insurance. But if scientists learn how to intervene to prevent the Alzheimer’s, or if the evidence of increased risk from sports or on the battlefield becomes overwhelming, the question may be asked more often.
The emerging science of epigenetics describes the way our lifestyle and environment influence our gene expression over time. This growing field of research is a hot topic right now because it has radically altered our...
They cleansed the rodents of retired cells. Over...
In 2012, almost one-third of the Canadian population provided care to family members or friends with long-term health conditions, primarily those linked to aging/frailty and forms of dementia. This number will only increase, placing more and...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.