Risk of Both Cardiovascular Disease and Alzheimer’s Linked to Same Genetic Variants, Study Suggests

Risk of Both Cardiovascular Disease and Alzheimer’s Linked to Same Genetic Variants, Study Suggests
Specific genes linked to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease also increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, according to results of a large genetic study. Researchers also found that managing the levels of lipids in the blood, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in certain individuals. “These results imply that irrespective of what causes what, cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s pathology co-occur because they are linked genetically. That is, if you carry this handful of gene variants, you may be at risk not only for heart disease but also for Alzheimer’s,” Rahul S. Desikan, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neuroradiology at University of California, San Francisco, and one of the study's co-lead authors, said in a press release. The study, “Dissecting the genetic relationship between cardiovascular risk factors and Alzheimer’s disease,” was published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica. Increasing epidemiological evidence suggests that cardiovascular disease and lifestyle-related risk factors affect the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The APOE gene, which provides instructions for the making of a protein that works as a lipid (fat) transporter and is involved in cholesterol and lipid metabolism, is the biggest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Genetic variations in this gene increase the risk for A
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