Alzheimer's DementiaExerciseGenetics

Lowering dementia risk in selected people

The presence of the APOE epislon4 gene is a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, examined whether physical exercise alters the association between APOE gene and amyloid deposition in normal adults.

Amyloids are proteins that deposit on the brain decades before the dementia stage begins.

First, the details.

  • 165 cognitively normal adults provided samples of their cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Amyloid imaging was performed and APOE genotyping data obtained.
  • Answers to a questionnaire on physical exercise over the last decade were obtained.
    • Participants were classified as either low or high exercisers based on the American Heart Association exercise guidelines.

And, the results.

  • Participants in the high-exercise group (those meeting AHA recommendations) had lower amyloid deposition vs the low-exercise group.
  • APOE epsilon4 carriers had higher amyloid deposition vs noncarriers.
  • Exercise had a greater effect on amyloid deposition in APOE epsilon4 carriers vs noncarriers.
  • A more sedentary lifestyle was significantly associated with higher APOE epsilon4 for APOE epsilon4 carriers, but not for noncarriers.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Collectively, these results suggest that cognitively normal sedentary APOE epsilon4–positive individuals may be at augmented risk for cerebral amyloid deposition.”

And, that’s just a step away from associating greater amyloid deposition in sedentary people with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Keep walking.

1/15/12 21:53 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.