From: University of Southern California
Published June 13, 2017 10:03 AM

Poor diet, plus Alzheimer's gene, may fuel disease

A diet high in cholesterol, fat and sugar may influence the development of Alzheimer’s disease in people who carry the ApoE4 gene, a leading risk factor for the memory-erasing disease, indicates a new USC study.

The study on mice, published June 12 in the journal eNeuro, is the latest to explore the association between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease, both of which are associated with inflammation and both of which affect millions of people.

For the study, researchers at the USC Davis School of Gerontology compared the effects of a poor diet on groups of mice that either had the Alzheimer’s-associated ApoE4 gene or the relatively benign variant of the gene, ApoE3. After eating an unhealthy diet, the mice with the ApoE4 gene showed more Alzheimer’s plaques – a marker for inflammation – in their brains, but those with ApoE3 did not.

“Part of what the results are saying is that risk doesn’t affect everybody the same, and that’s true for most risk factors,” said Christian Pike, the lead author of the study and a professor for the USC Davis School of Gerontology. “Your genes have a big role in what happens to you, but so does your environment and your modifiable lifestyle factors. How much you exercise becomes important and what you eat becomes important.”

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