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1-APOE4 GENE

A primer for newbies and old pros alike.
Mikki
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1-APOE4 GENE

Postby Mikki » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:21 am

I found out I have 1-APOE4 gene from 23 and Me a couple of years ago. My grandmother developed Alzheimers and it sounds like she had a brother who developed it at an early age. My mother died at 81 and her sister at 82. Both had good cognitive abilities and died from COPD and a Stroke from high blood pressure. My father died in his 50s from alcoholism. I don't know of anyone on his side of the family who had Alzheimers but I was estranged from his side of the family and don't know much about them.

I'm 71 and every time I forget a name, I wonder.... :o

Flo
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby Flo » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:36 pm

Mikki wrote:I'm 71 and every time I forget a name, I wonder.... :o


Dear Mikki,

Welcome to our community!
I don't suppose we ever stop wondering... but putting in place some of the lifestyle interventions mentioned in the primer can act to a certain extent as piece of mind. It's been written by a physician and is jam packed full of wonderful information.
If you need help with the ins and outs of the website, the how-to guide can be really helpful.
I hope you find all the answers and support that you're looking for here!

Warm regards
Flo

mike
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby mike » Tue Nov 05, 2019 10:01 am

Mikki wrote:I found out I have 1-APOE4 gene from 23 and Me a couple of years ago...I'm 71 and every time I forget a name, I wonder.... :o

Mikki, It does sound like the gene came down from your mother, but it is not certain. More people without the ApoE4 variant get Alzheimer's than those that have one or more ApoE4 copies. ApoE4 increases the risk, especially if you have two copies, but is only one factor. As was mentioned in the last post, life style has a lot to do with whether you get AD - How do you sleep? What kind of stress levels do you have? Are you keeping your mind active? Do you exercise? What is your diet like? Are you avoiding added sugars, corn syrup and trans fats?
Sonoma Mike
4/4

Olivia47
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby Olivia47 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 8:39 pm

Did I read Sonoma Mike's text correctly?
"More people withOUT the ApoE4 variant get Alzeimer's than those that have one or more ApoE4 copies"

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Sara Mushel, MS
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby Sara Mushel, MS » Wed Nov 06, 2019 10:02 am

Did I read Sonoma Mike's text correctly?
"More people withOUT the ApoE4 variant get Alzeimer's than those that have one or more ApoE4 copies"


Hi Oliva47,

Welcome to the forum! Mike provided some very helpful questions to analyze your personal risk with regard to your lifestyle. Regarding your question, I'm guessing he's referring to the fact that only roughly 15% of the population carries the Apoe4 gene variant, but nearly 1 in 3 seniors are now dying of Alzheimer's or other form of dementia. That definitely leaves a lot of room for factors other than a genetic risk to come into play (i.e., lifestyle, toxin exposure, etc.).

The good news is that there is so much you can do on our your own with lifestyle changes, and this forum is an excellent resource for you to get started. If you haven't found them already, the Welcome, Primer, and Wiki pages are great places to start. I also recommend using the search tool to find threads on specific topics that you're interested in. Click the magnifying glass at the top right of the page in the menu bar.

We're excited to have you here and we'd love to learn more about you if you'd like to share! Please let us know if you have any questions along the way.

Sara Mushel

Olivia47
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby Olivia47 » Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:08 pm

Thankyou Sara. I have read that people with 1 apoE4 gene have a one in 3 chance of developing AD, and in the average population the chance is about one in ten,so found the comment confusing.Depends which report you read perhaps.

NF52
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby NF52 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:55 am

Olivia47 wrote:Thankyou Sara. I have read that people with 1 apoE4 gene have a one in 3 chance of developing AD, and in the average population the chance is about one in ten,so found the comment confusing.Depends which report you read perhaps.
Welcome, Olivia47!

I think "confusing" is a common feeling for those of us with ApoE4. The key here is whether you are talking about an overall population, or the risk of one group in the population.

As someone who is 67, if I am in a room with 100 people my age here in the U.S., here's how we may sort ourselves (rounding for simplicity)

    75% will be like my ApoE 3/3 husband, who is also 67, with about a 10 % risk of AD.
    Of those 75 ApoE 3/3s, about 8 may develop AD by the age of 85.

    20% will be ApoE 3/4 or 2/4, with an estimated risk of about 20%.
    Of those 20 people, about 4 may develop AD by age 85.

    3 % will be ApoE 2/2 or 2/3
    Those two people will have a genetic extremely low risk of AD--and scientists are learning how to harness that.

    2% (me and one other) will have ApoE 4/4, with a wide range of between 30-55% risk of dementia by age 85.
    So let's say I'm that one person who may develop AD by age 85.

My absolute risk of AD as someone age 67 with ApoE 4/4 may be about 50%; my husband's risk is only 10%. But there will always be more people with ApoE 3 who get AD, because in that room of 100, there are 70 people like my husband, and only 2 people like me (and 20 like you.)

Here's what I think is important though: I worry more about climate change and rising inequality and distrust as the threats to the future of our three adult children with ApoE 3/4, because the Primer can show you how to dial down your risk by decades, if not to zero. Your generation is going to prove that genes are not destiny.
4/4 and still an optimist!

Olivia47
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby Olivia47 » Thu Nov 07, 2019 3:38 pm

What a through answer Sara.Thankyou.I can see what you're saying, that more people that are APOE3 develop AD thanose those of of who are APO4 because there are more people in the APOE3 group, but I think by the same reasoning more APO3 don't .Thats why I thought Sonoma Mikes statement was perhaps a little misleading.I'm just trying to understand it all!
By the way I am 72 year old Australian. I informed my Doctor of my APOE4 status yesterday. He really wasn't clued up about it at all, so I am very grateful for this group.

NF52
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Re: 1-APOE4 GENE

Postby NF52 » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:32 pm

Mikki wrote:I found out I have 1-APOE4 gene from 23 and Me a couple of years ago. My grandmother developed Alzheimers and it sounds like she had a brother who developed it at an early age. My mother died at 81 and her sister at 82. Both had good cognitive abilities and died from COPD and a Stroke from high blood pressure. My father died in his 50s from alcoholism. I don't know of anyone on his side of the family who had Alzheimers but I was estranged from his side of the family and don't know much about them.
I'm 71 and every time I forget a name, I wonder.... :o
Hi Mikki,
Take it from a 67 year old genetic "cousin" who has two copies of ApoE 4: You can forget lots of names from the last 70 or so years of your life without it being a warning bell going off. Here's why: Our memories are not etched permanently in our brain; even the ones we think are permanent are more like old home movies that we've re-watched--but edited each time we did! So names of famous people (Lincoln, JFK) and names of people (and pets) who have held important or emotionally significant roles in our lives are often remembered easily--we may even dream about them as they were decades ago! Other names, even those that we might have thought were solidly in long-term memory, can be hard to recall "on demand"--like if someone asked you "What was the name of your first grade teacher?" Free recall (sometimes called unaided recall) is far more difficult than "cued recall". That's why when we can't think of a name of that teacher, we say "Oh, she was a nun, and very petite, and sweet, and she had a name that wasn't a common name." In other words, we often remember a lot about the person, just not the name, which doesn't have any particular hook. Sometime we suddenly get it; or if you're like me, you remember the name 10 minutes after you saw the person at a store and couldn't remember her name even though you knew her job, her kids, etc. etc.

So, the kinds of memory issues that are seen in people who have subjective cognitive decline, or signs of mild cognitive impairment, are more likely to be problems with spatial memory (how do I get to the doctor's office that I have gone to for 20 years) or memory for recent events (my mother insisted she had not gone with her brother to visit an assisted living facility two days after it happened). It may also be worrying about things being "lost" or "moved " in the house because you can't remember where you put them a few days ago. Or forgetting how to do tasks you used to do easily, like keeping track of bills, or remembering what day of the week it is even after you've looked at a calendar.

It's an excellent sign that your mother (a first-degree relative) and her sister both avoided any cognitive decline--although I would talk with your doctor about any high blood pressure you have, and consider a carotid artery scan (for risk of a stroke). It's entirely possible that your maternal grandmother didn't have Alzheimer's but had either vascular dementia from coronary artery disease and/or high blood pressure or a mixed dementia with features of both vascular and Alzheimer's dementia. Your grandmother's brother may have developed multiple health issues in the 1960's or so which were tied to common practices of that time: diabetes, coronary artery disease, kidney disease from toxic exposure in farms and factories. I wouldn't assume that's relevant to you, any more than my maternal grandmother's death from a stroke at 45 has proved relevant for me.

Much better to realize that current meta-analyses of large population cohorts suggest you have about a 20-25% chance of developing either Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or dementia by the age of 85. That means a 75-80% chance that you will be like your mother and aunt: live well into your 80's or beyond with a healthy brain! Having a purpose in our lives, regular social engagement (volunteering for anything from campaigns to food kitchens to reading with struggling your readers are all great options if you're looking for new outlets) and regular aerobic exercise are all great strategies. I like the view of the Stoics: We cannot control the outcome of our voyage, but we can control how we plan, and how we find joy in the journey.

I hope you continue to post, and tell us how you have stayed so healthy to age 71. We have lots of worried 30-somethings who find it hard to picture themselves our ages!
4/4 and still an optimist!


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