Two weeks ago I was on a call with UsAgainstAlzheimer’s where the discussion was about the growing impact of Alzheimer’s in African-Americans which I will write about in another post. But I recently stumbled upon this article online from Time.com about one of the largest studies done on genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s in the African American population which discovered two genes associated with higher risk of the neurodegenerative disorder among whites also contributed to higher rates of the disease among African-Americans.
In the study involving nearly 6,000 African-American participants aged 60 or older, about 2000 of whom had Alzheimer’s and 4000 who did not, variants in the genes ABCA7 and ApoE increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 80% and more than two-fold, respectively.
ABCA7 is involved in producing cholesterol and lipids, and some research suggests that Alzheimer’s disease may involve aberrations in fat metabolism that are similar to those behind heart disease. The more prominent contribution that ABCA7 seems to play in Alzheimer’s risk suggests that such lipid-based pathways may play more of a risk among the African-American population than among whites.