Hypertension interacts with genetic risk to increase the burden of amyloid beta (Aβ) in the brain, a new study suggests.

In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), individuals with the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 gene, indicating higher AD risk, had higher levels of Aβ, researchers report. Even in healthy control patients, the presence of hypertension and APOE ε4-positivity was associated with a greater level of Aβ in the brains of adults older than 70 years.

Despite the strong risk conferred by APOE ε4, age remains the greatest risk factor for AD, suggesting that age-related comorbidities may be important. Among them, “poor vascular health is a significant medical issue in aging populations,” Karen Rodrigue, PhD of the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas at Dallas told delegates here at the 7th Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD)

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