The exact cause of Alzheimer’s disease is not known. Due to this, Alzheimer’s disease remains incurable. Nevertheless, researchers know that the reason lies around the deposits of amyloid plaques or tau tangles in the brain. Further research is needed to elucidate the mechanism behind the formation of these deposits around and within the brain cells.
Once brain cells are affected, the neurotransmitters, called chemical messengers of the brain, stop sending the messages and signals to the brain. Due to this, different areas of the brain shrink to degrade recognition and memory.
Researchers have shown that amyloid plaque forms due to Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene. The presence of even one mutated APOE gene increases the chance of Alzheimer’s disease in future generations. The different types of APOE gene are APOE 2, APOE 3 and APOE 4. APOE 4 and APOE 3 cause Alzheimer’s disease, while APOE 2 provides protection against this disease to a certain extent.
The biggest risk factor of Alzheimer’s disease is APOE 4, but it does not mean you will definitely develop this condition if you carry this gene. Even if you carry a mutated APOE 4 gene, you may never develop Alzheimer’s disease as it follows an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance.
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