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Cortex Area Thinner in Youth with Alzheimers-Related Gene

did not test for possible learning and memory deficits, the researchers found no difference in IQ attributable to ApoE gene type. Nor did the E4 variant accelerate loss of cortex tissue. The differences were fixed, and didn't progress. In fact, the researchers noted evidence that ApoE4 may even promote survival in infancy and protect the brains thinking capacity against damage from infectious illness.
"In the future we hope to determine whether this thinner cortex is associated with differences in brain activity during tasks of learning and memory in children, said Shaw.

Also participating in the research were: Kristin Taylor, A. Blyth Rose, Deanna Greenstein, Liv Clasen, NIMH; Jason Lerch, Jens Pruessner, Alan Evans, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University.


MRI scans revealed that children and adolescents with the ApoE4 gene variant, which is associated with Alzheimers disease, had a thinner entorhinal cortex, the first brain area to be affected by the brain disorder. Youth with the much rarer ApoE2 variant, thought to protect against Alzheimers, had the thickest cortex. The vertical lines in the graph show ranges of thickness, with the red dots being the averages. Source: Philip Shaw, M.D., NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch


Entorhinal cortex (red) was thinnest in youth with Alzheimers-related ApoE4 gene variant. View of left entorhinal cortex from beneath the brain, with front of brain at top. Artists rendering. Source: Philip Shaw, M.D., NIMH Child Psychiatry Branch

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) mission is to reduce the burden of mental and behavioral disorders through research on mind, brain, and behavior. More information is available at the NIMH website, http://www.nimh.nih.gov.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of
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