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Prospective Memory Problems Linked to Gene

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Updated: January 27, 2005

Otherwise healthy adults who carry the so-called 'Alzheimer Gene' can suffer significant problems in later life with one of the functions of memory known as prospective memory. Unlike memory for past events prospective memory relates to things in the future. Prospective memory is best thought of in terms of intent and content. For example, 'I must go to the shop (intent) and pick up some bread (content)'.

People who carry the high-risk e-4 allele on both of their ApoE genes are eight times more likely to develop Alzheimer's as non-carriers. People with the high-risk allele on only one ApoE gene are three times more likely to develop Alzheimer's than non-carriers, according to the research. Research at the University of New Mexico has revealed that previous assumptions about e-4 allele carriers being vertually untouched by the gene are incorrect. This suggests that healthy carriers of the gene may benefit from strategies known to support people with prospective memory problems.

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