Increased risk of dementia following mild head injury for carriers but not for non-carriers of the APOE ε4 allele

Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, Tukholma, Stockholm, Sweden
International Psychogeriatrics (Impact Factor: 1.93). 03/2007; 19(1):159-65. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610206003498
Source: PubMed


The epsilon4 allele of apolipoprotein E (APOE) and head injury are risk factors for dementia diseases, and may act synergistically to further increase the risk. The aim of this study was to examine the association between mild head injury, APOE and dementia.
Data were obtained from the Betula prospective population-based study of aging, memory, and health. The study included 543 participants in the age range 40-85 years, free of dementia at baseline, who were followed up within a 5-year interval. Dementia was classified using DSM-IV criteria. Information on previous head injury was obtained through screening of the participants' answers to health questionnaires at baseline and at follow-up.
Subjects with head injury but without APOE epsilon4 had no increased risk of dementia. Subjects with APOE epsilon4 had an increased risk and those with both APOE epsilon4 and head injury had the highest risk of dementia (odds ratio = 5.2).
APOE epsilon4 constitutes a risk factor for dementia, mild injury in isolation does not increase the risk, but head injury in combination with the APOE epsilon4 leads to increased risk of dementia.

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