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CETP Gene Linked to Reduced Risk of Dementia in Seniors

Last Updated: January 12, 2010.

Changes in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein gene are associated with slower memory decline and lower risk of dementia in older adults, according to research published in the Jan. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Changes in the cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) gene are associated with slower memory decline and lower risk of dementia in older adults, according to research published in the Jan. 13 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Amy E. Sanders, M.D., of Yeshiva University in Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues analyzed data from 523 adults aged 70 years and older who were free of dementia at baseline. Subjects received annual neuropsychological tests and were followed for a mean 4.3 years. As the authors write, a particular single-nucleotide polymorphism in the CETP gene, which is involved in cholesterol homeostasis in the brain, involves substitution of valine for isoleucine.

During follow-up, the researchers note that 40 developed dementia. Compared to isoleucine homozygotes, valine homozygotes had slower memory decline on the Free and Cued Selective Reminding Test, but not different scores on tests for attention and psychomotor speed. These subjects also had a lower risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease (hazard ratios, 0.28 and 0.31, respectively).

"An association between CETP status and cognition and dementia is biologically plausible because other genes involved in lipid metabolism, including APOE, are associated with dementia risk. Future studies should further evaluate the potential protective association of the CETP gene with dementia risk," the authors conclude.

A co-author reported financial relationships with a number of pharmaceutical companies.

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