Study claims how getting more education reduces risk of developing Alzheimer’s
Getting higher education may not just be for you to land a better job or a more “secured” future, as it actually plays a vital role in delaying the onset of the dreaded Alzheimer’s disease.
A new study on the relationship between education and the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain, a key component of Alzheimer’s, suggested that more education can slow down the development of these plaques.
The report published in the Neurology journal on Wednesday, revealed that individuals who had less than a decade of education had twice the number of amyloid plaques as compared to those who had more than 16 years of education.
The researchers revealed that Alzheimer’s disease often starts at the age of 30 up to 50. Approximately one to six percent of those diagnosed with the disease had genes, which increases their risk for its early development, U.S. News & World Report revealed.
Dr Sylvia Villeneuve, one of the researchers and an assistant professor at McGill University’s Department of Psychiatry in Montreal, Canada, stated that many have assumed that the gene factor in Alzheimer’s cannot be changed, which was why little research was done on whether or not the trajectory of the disease can be modified.
She added that it is quite exciting to see that education may play a role in delaying the onset of the disease, one which often affects individuals during their prime.
Villeneuve and colleagues studied two groups. The first group had 106 subjects while the second group had 117 subjects. The educational background of both groups was an average of 15 years.
The first group had an average age of 67 and had a parent diagnosed with the disease. They found that this group had 39 percent who exhibited the APOE4 gene mutation, a type of mutation regarded by scientists as closely linked with Alzheimer’s. In the second group, they had an average age of 35 and their APOE4 mutation was lower at 31 percent.
Looking at both groups, researchers found that among those who had familial early-onset Alzheimer’s, higher educational attainment also showed fewer amyloid brain plaques.
Villeneuve stated that the results of their study showed the somewhat protective mechanism that education has against the development of Alzheimer’s. She put forth that perhaps, education promotes brain resistance against the amyloid plaques, even in patients with familial Alzheimer’s disease.