Alzheimer's Disease, Genes, and Environment: The Value of International Studies

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Abstract

Objective: To describe the construction of a disease model incorporating both genetic and environmental factors in the etiology of Alzheimer's disease (AD), using data generated from the Indianapolis-Ibadan dementia project (I-IDP). Method: The I-IDP is a longitudinal comparative study of the prevalence and incidence of dementia in 2 communities: elderly African Americans living in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Yoruba living in Ibadan, Nigeria. Results: African Americans are more than twice as likely as Yoruba to develop AD. Possible explanations for this finding include genetic factors: the possession of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele does not increase risk for AD among Yoruba but confers a slight increase in AD risk for African Americans. As well, environmental factors may play a role: African Americans have a higher risk of vascular risk factors than do Yoruba. Conclusions: International comparative studies, particularly those involving populations from developing and developed countries, offer a unique opportunity for applying new information regarding population genetics to traditional AD risk factor research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Psychiatry
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004

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Keywords

  • African American
  • Environmental
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetic
  • International studies
  • Yoruba

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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