Studies show that the Alzheimer’s gene may also affect little children.
The selfsame gene that causes Alzheimer’s Disease in adults is responsible for changes in the brains of little kids. Brain scans of 1,187 kids and teenagers showed that there were signs that gave away their Alzheimer’s status.
The dimensions and shape of their cortex, hippocampus and several other areas of the brain showed warning signs. The trends were associated with variations of the gene which is termed APOE. This gene plays a crucial role in up to 25% of the cases of Alzheimer’s Disease, according to LATimes.
The type of APOE gene that was prevalent in children was assessed via cognitive tests, memory exams and attention-gauging schemes. This study lends us conclusive evidence of the fact that Alzheimer’s is not solely due to the accumulation of beta amyloid plaques in the brain.
Rather, it is most probably a developmental disorder. The APOE gene passes on the orders to the cells to manufacture a protein. This is apolipoprotein E.
When the making of this protein is complete, it helps carry cholesterol and fats in the bloodstream. Also beta amyloid is whisked away from the brain.
The gene has three variants: e2, e3 and e4. Everyone inherits one of these from either parent and so there are half a dozen possible combinations.
Those people with one and two e4 variants are more likely to contract Alzheimer’s. Those who do not have the e4 variant are not as likely to inherit Alzheimer’s.
Those adults who have e2 variants have plaques in their brains but do not show any signs of dementia. A team of scientists wanted to see whether these patterns of Alzheimer’s manifestation exhibited the same effects in young people. Subjects from 3 to 20 years of age were chosen for the study.
The saliva samples of the kids and teenagers were taken for DNA sequencing. MRI scans were taken and cognitive tests were also administered to the youngsters.
A large variety of differences were noticed in the juvenile population. This was so after gender, genetic inheritance, family financial conditions and parental learning were controlled for.
Children with e4/e4, e2/e2 and e2/e4 sequences turned out to be different from those kids who had even one e3 variant. Those with an e2/24 variant showed patterns that resembled elderly people with Alzheimer’s. Youngsters with an e4/e4 variant also showed peculiar patterns in their brain scans. The brains showed a number of contrasting conditions.
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This was indeed a highly intriguing study that got published in the journal Neurology.