Gene that's usually bad news loses its punch if you live to your 90s, study finds

October 25, 2012

A gene linked to the risk of developing Alzheimer's, heart disease and diabetes becomes less important to quality of life once people hit their 90s, a Mayo Clinic study shows. At that point, good friends and a positive attitude have a bigger impact, the researchers say. The findings are published this month in the Journal of American Medical Directors Association.

Researchers used the National Institutes of Health-supported Rochester Epidemiology Project, a database of patient records in Olmsted County, Minn., to find people ages 90 to 99 living on their own or in long-term care. The 121 participants completed an interview, a physical exam and a quality-of-life questionnaire. Participants were divided into groups based on their cognitive function, to sort out the effects of age and disease on well-being, and were taken for genotyping.

Researchers discovered that those who carried the gene in question, known as ApoE4, were no worse off than others in the study.

"We found if people had good physical, intellectual, and emotional well-being, more , and if they perceived themselves to have better coping skills, they felt they had better quality of life," says co-author Maria Lapid, M.D., a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist.

"The study shows that the ApoE4 genotype doesn't determine what your quality of life will be, and that, regardless of your gender, environmental factors play a significant role in your physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being," she says. "You can have good quality of life regardless of this gene."

The median age of those studied was 93; 87 percent were women. Those reporting poorer quality of life tended to be men, for reasons that are unclear, and people who experienced pain.

Explore further: Aging, overweight people stay happy, says new study

Related Stories

Aging, overweight people stay happy, says new study

March 8, 2012
Growing older and being overweight are not necessarily associated with a decrease in mental well-being, according to a cross-cultural study looking at quality of life and health status in the US and the UK.

Women have a poorer quality of life after a stroke or mini stroke than men

July 25, 2012
Having a stroke or mini stroke has a much more profound effect on women than men when it comes to their quality of life, according to research published in the August issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing.

Recommended for you

Scientists use new data mining strategy to spot those at high Alzheimer's risk

July 28, 2017
The push to develop treatments for Alzheimer's disease has been a promising and disappointing endeavor over the past two decades, yielding a greater understanding of the disease yet still failing to generate successful new ...

Lifestyle changes to stave off Alzheimer's? Hints, no proof

July 20, 2017
There are no proven ways to stave off Alzheimer's, but a new report raises the prospect that avoiding nine key risks starting in childhood just might delay or even prevent about a third of dementia cases around the world.

Blood test identifies key Alzheimer's marker

July 19, 2017
A new study led by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests that measures of amyloid beta in the blood have the potential to help identify people with altered levels of amyloid in their ...

Steering an enzyme's 'scissors' shows potential for stopping Alzheimer's disease

July 19, 2017
The old real estate adage about "location, location, location" might also apply to the biochemical genesis of Alzheimer's disease, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Brain scans may change care for some people with memory loss

July 19, 2017
Does it really take an expensive brain scan to diagnose Alzheimer's? Not everybody needs one but new research suggests that for a surprising number of patients whose memory problems are hard to pin down, PET scans may lead ...

Can poor sleep boost odds for Alzheimer's?

July 18, 2017
(HealthDay)— Breathing problems during sleep may signal an increased risk for Alzheimer's disease, a trio of studies suggests.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.