Dementia Protection in Your DNA

Dementia risk lower for families of people who had high levels of a protective protein

(RxWiki News) Risk for dementia increases as people age and when there is a family history. New research suggests that the ability to avoid dementia may also run in families.

A recent set of studies looked at the rates of dementia for people in relation to their levels of a protein that is thought to protect against dementia.

They found that people with high levels of this protein were less likely to have dementia in their close relatives. Protection from dementia may be passed down through family genes.

"Tell your doctor about any memory problems."

C-reactive protein is found in the blood and related to inflammation. It increases when the immune system is activated by disease or illness.

Earlier research found that high levels of C-reactive protein was linked to lower rates of dementia.

Researchers, led by Jeremy Silverman, PhD, of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, did two studies. Both looked at the link between a person’s C-reactive protein levels and family history of dementia.

The first study looked at 277 people over the age of 75 who did not have dementia. They measured the levels of C-reactive protein.

The researchers also asked the people about whether or not any of their parents or siblings had dementia.

They compared the levels of C-reactive protein to family rates of dementia.

People who had higher levels of the protein were less likely to have relatives with dementia.

The second study found the same pattern using another set of 51 people who were 85-years-old or older.

The authors concluded that aging without dementia may be linked to a family history of high-levels of C-reactive protein.

In other words, family genes may give people protection from dementia and help people age without losing cognitive ability.

These studies were published together on August 15 in Neurology.

Mary Sano, an author on this study, has served on advisory committees or as a consultant for Sanofi Aventis, Takeda, Bayer, Bristol Meyer Squibb and other pharmaceutical companies.

Review Date: 
August 16, 2012