Impact of the Apolipoprotein E ε4 Allele on the Relationship Between Healthy Lifestyle and Cognitive Decline: A Population-Based Study

Klodian Dhana, Neelum T. Aggarwal, Kumar B. Rajan, Lisa L. Barnes, Denis A. Evans, Martha C. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Adherence to a healthy lifestyle-characterized by abstaining from smoking, being physically and cognitively active, having a high-quality diet, and limiting alcohol use-is associated with slower cognitive decline in older adults, but whether this relationship extends to persons with a genetic predisposition (e.g., carriers of the ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE*E4)) remains uncertain. Using data from a population-based study, the Chicago Health and Aging Project (Chicago, Illinois), we followed 3,886 individuals who underwent regular clinical and cognitive assessments from 1993 to 2012. Of 3,886 older adults, 1,269 (32.7%) were APOE*E4 carriers. Compared with noncarriers, APOE*E4 carriers had faster cognitive decline (β = -0.027 units/year, 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.032, -0.023). In contrast, persons with 2-3 and 4-5 healthy lifestyle factors had slower cognitive decline (β = 0.008 units/year (95% CI: 0.002, 0.014) and β = 0.019 units/year (95% CI: 0.011, 0.026), respectively) compared with those with 0-1 factor. In analyses stratified by APOE*E4 status, adherence to a healthy lifestyle (e.g., 4-5 factors vs. 0-1 factors) was associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline in both APOE*E4 carriers (β = 0.029, 95% CI: 0.013, 0.045) and noncarriers (β = 0.013, 95% CI: 0.005, 0.022). These results underscore the impact of a healthy lifestyle on cognition, particularly among persons with a genetic predisposition, who are more vulnerable to cognitive decline as they age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1225-1233
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Volume190
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021

Keywords

  • APOE ε4 allele
  • Alzheimer dementia
  • apolipoprotein E
  • apolipoprotein E gene
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • diet
  • exercise
  • health behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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