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ISRN Neurology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 394678, 29 pages
Research Article

The Fox and the Rabbits—Environmental Variables and Population Genetics (1) Replication Problems in Association Studies and the Untapped Power of GWAS (2) Vitamin A Deficiency, Herpes Simplex Reactivation and Other Causes of Alzheimer's Disease

PolygenicPathways, Flat 4, 20 Upper Maze Hill, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, TN38 0LG, UK

Received 13 March 2011; Accepted 20 April 2011

Academic Editor: A. Conti

Copyright © 2011 C. J. Carter. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Classical population genetics shows that varying permutations of genes and risk factors permit or disallow the effects of causative agents, depending on circumstance. For example, genes and environment determine whether a fox kills black or white rabbits on snow or black ash covered islands. Risk promoting effects are different on each island, but obscured by meta-analysis or GWAS data from both islands, unless partitioned by different contributory factors. In Alzheimer's disease, the foxes appear to be herpes, borrelia or chlamydial infection, hypercholesterolemia, hyperhomocysteinaemia, diabetes, cerebral hypoperfusion, oestrogen depletion, or vitamin A deficiency, all of which promote beta-amyloid deposition in animal models—without the aid of gene variants. All relate to risk factors and subsets of susceptibility genes, which condition their effects. All are less prevalent in convents, where nuns appear less susceptible to the ravages of ageing. Antagonism of the antimicrobial properties of beta-amyloid by Abeta autoantibodies in the ageing population, likely generated by antibodies raised to beta-amyloid/pathogen protein homologues, may play a role in this scenario. These agents are treatable by diet and drugs, vitamin supplementation, pathogen detection and elimination, and autoantibody removal, although again, the beneficial effects of individual treatments may be tempered by genes and environment.