Effects of the APOE ε2 Allele on Mortality and Cognitive Function in the Oldest Old

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Some studies indicate that the APOE ε2 allele may have a protective effect on mortality and mental health among the elderly adults. We investigated the effect of the APOE ε2 allele on cognitive function and mortality in 1651 members of the virtually extinct Danish 1905 birth cohort. We found no protective effect of the APOE ε2 allele on mortality compared with the APOE ε3 allele. The point estimates indicated an increased protection against cognitive decline over time for persons with the APOE ε2 allele. Cognitive score did not significantly modify the mortality risk of the various APOE genotypes. We did not find a protective effect of the APOE ε2 allele on mortality among the oldest old, but in agreement with our previous findings, we found a 22% increased mortality risk for APOE ε4 carriers. The APOE ε2 allele may be protective on cognitive decline among the oldest old.

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