With the advent of consumer genetic testing from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, etc, it is now easy to know if you are at a higher risk of getting Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Those with APOE ε3 are at a normal risk for Alzheimer’s, and those who carry an APOE ε4 allele (or two) are at an increased risk.
This is a touchy subject for some people, so please think it through before you check to see your APOE type.
One reason for learning your APOE type is to know if it is important to keep up with current research on preventing Alzheimer’s.
While tons of research money over the last couple decades has been spent on trying to find drugs to stop the tangled accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque without much success, a new direction of research is looking into the tie to circadian rhythm dysfunction. I find this intriguing since the sudden increase in Alzheimer’s disease rate over the past few decades correlates with increasing chronic exposure to blue light at night, a circadian rhythm disruptor.
It has long been known that circadian disruption is a part of AD. Called ‘sundowning’, Alzheimer’s patients often are more active or confused in the evening /night and sleepy during the daytime.
The chicken-or-egg question comes to mind: Is Alzheimer’s caused by changing circadian rhythms –or– is the circadian dysfunction being caused by the disease.
New research out this month may help answer that question.