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Alzheimer's may begin in childhood, research suggests.
The disease has long been associated with the 'dementia gene' APOE. This comes in multiple forms, with around a quarter of people carrying a variation called e4.
Copy - E4 - Person - Alzheimer - Risk
Carrying that copy of e4 has been shown to more than double a person's Alzheimer's risk, while some people with it may have a risk up to five times higher.
While Alzheimer's is considered an old person's disease, a study found children as young as seven who carry just one e4 variation do worse on IQ tests.
Researchers - US - Warn - Effects - APOE
Researchers from the US warn this shows the 'deleterious effects of APOE e4 are manifested before adulthood', which could trigger cognitive decline.
The research was carried out by the University of California, Riverside, and led by Dr Chandra Reynolds, professor of psychology.
Dementia - People - UK - Cent - Alzheimer
Dementia affects 850,000 people in the UK, of which 62 per cent have Alzheimer's, according to the Alzheimer's Society.
And in the US, 5.8million people live with the condition, which is set to rise to nearly 14million by 2050, Alzheimer's Association statistics show.
APOE - Effect - Gene - Alzheimer - Alzheimer
APOE has 'the greatest known effect of any gene of developing late-onset Alzheimer's', according to the Alzheimer's Society.
APOE comes in three variations - e2, e3 and e4.
Everyone - Copies - Gene - E2/e3 - Others
Everyone has two copies of the gene, with some being e2/e3, others e2/e4 and so on.
Around a quarter of people have one copy of e4, which slightly more than doubles their risk of...
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