Families of people with protein linked to inflammation at reduced risk of dementia

Published on Thursday, 16 August 2012 10:57
Written by Scott Buckler

Older people who have a high level of a protein linked to inflammation and do not have dementia are less likely to have relatives with dementia, according to a study published on Neurology online

The research by Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York involved 277 male veterans aged 75 and older who were free of dementia.

Scientists tested the participants for levels of the C-reactive protein and interviewed them about whether their parents and siblings had dementia.  A total of 40 relatives from 37 families had dementia. A secondary independent group of 51 men aged 85 and older with no dementia symptoms were also given an interview about 202 relatives. Nine of the relatives had dementia. Participants with higher amounts of the protein were more than 30 per cent less likely to have relatives with dementia.

Alzheimer's Society comment:'From what we already know about inflammation and dementia it is more likely that this particular protein is actually a risk factor rather than a protection against dementia. However, this interesting research suggests people who do not develop dementia despite potentially being more at risk might share genetic or lifestyle factors with their families that make them less likely to develop the condition.'

'One in three people over 65 will develop dementia. More research is needed to determine what causes the condition, how we can prevent it, how we can help people to live well with it and ultimately how we can cure it.'

Source: ©Alzheimers Society

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