Mayo Clinic Logo Scientists have now found an astonishing link between Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease risk. According to a 17-year Mayo Clinic study, people with a gene associated to Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular risks experience age-related memory decline 20 to 25 years sooner than people who carry the gene without cardiovascular risk. The gene called apolipoprotein E (APOE) seems to have three common forms namely APOE e2, APOE e3 and APOE e4.

While APOE e2 appears to decline the threat of Alzheimer’s, APOE e3 doesn’t interfere with Alzheimer’s risk and APOE e4 elevates the chances of Alzheimer’s. Reportedly, one in four people have one copy of the APOE e4 gene, which was inherited from one parent and over two percent have two copies, inherited from both parents. In case someone has two APOE e4 genes, the risk of Alzheimer’s may be even higher.

In the year 1994, investigators triggered a longitudinal aging study to find out changes in cognitive skills with aging and the influence of increased risks for Alzheimer’s disease. It was suggested that possession of even one copy of the APOE e4 gene accelerates age related memory decline from the mid to late 50’s. This is because the subset may have two copies of the gene, so the effect is more pronounced.

“We don’t believe that everyone needs to go out and get genetic testing for Alzheimer’s disease, but we do want to emphasize what our cardiology colleagues have been telling us for years that treatment of hypertension, diabetes, smoking cessation and high cholesterol are all very important – this is one more reason to consider that,” stated Richard Caselli, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Now, experts have analyzed the influence of other common medical problems that result in cardiovascular disease such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking and high cholesterol in combination with APOE e4. The small sub group, about two percent of the population with the double dose of the gene and at least one factor allegedly had a major threat of memory decline. The study apparently has profound implications in the medical section.

The study was published in Neurology.