New research has revealed that a gene variant responsible for a higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease can be found in the minds of even young adults. Those with brains that have the gene variant APOE4 (Which has been proven to be an indicator for a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s but not a 100% guarantee that the disease will occur.) in their 20s have a different way of functioning than those without. Those who have the gene seemed to require more effort and experienced less efficient function when asked to perform a battery of memory tests by researchers than those without the variant.
The test was conducted with 24 healthy young adults, half of which had APOE4. Functional MRI was done on the subjects during their memory testing to compare brain activity between the two groups. While for the most part their brains seemed to be similar, brain function and interconnection for those with APOE4 was different. Research into the way the gene variant affects brain function from the newly discovered young age group on into elderly years is hoped to reveal more about what determines the risk for Alzheimer’s.