Alzheimer’s Disease

Medical Genetics

Looking into the Crystal Ball for Alzheimer’s Disease

William J. Mack

University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA. E-mail:

As our population ages, the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) continues to increase at a rapid rate. An estimated 5 to 10% of individuals over 65, and 40% of individuals over 85, will be affected. The problem is that we cannot accurately predict which of us will be the unlucky ones. Halliday and colleagues examined subtle changes in the cerebrospinal fluid of cognitively healthy individuals that may help identify early, preclinical indicators of disease.

Although apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4) is a known genetic risk factor for AD, the mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration remain unclear. The authors studied blood-brain barrier (BBB) breakdown and biomarkers of the cyclophilin A matrix metalloproteinase 9 pathway in cognitively normal individuals with differing APOE genotypes. They sought to determine whether patients with the APOE4 allele are susceptible to age-dependent…

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