Brain reserve and dementia risk

Studies on the possible modifying effect of education on the APOE-dementia association are limited. We tested the hypothesis that education may decrease the risk of dementia associated with APOE ɛ4. The study used pooled data from three major population-based studies in northern Europe, which included a total of 3436 participants aged 65+: the Kungsholmen Project and the Gothenburg Birth Cohort studies in Sweden and the CAIDE project in Finland. Both APOE ɛ4 (carriers of one ɛ4: OR 2.5, carriers of two ɛ4: OR 3.7) and lower education (<8 years) were independently associated with significant decreased risk of dementia. An interaction between education and APOE ɛ4 was observed. APOE ɛ4 allele carriers who had low education were at higher risk of dementia; the risk diminished if they had higher education1.

  1. Wang HX, Gustafson DR, Kivipelto M, Pedersen NL, Skoog I, Windblad B, et al. Education halves the risk of dementia due to apolipoprotein ε4 allele: a collaborative study from the Swedish Brain Power initiative. Neurobiol Aging 2012; 1007.e1–1007.e7.