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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2015, Article ID 267062, 8 pages
Research Article

Genetic Risk Score Predicts Late-Life Cognitive Impairment

1Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Sennott Square, 3rd Floor, 210 South Bouquet Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA
2Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, University of Pittsburgh, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Suite 115, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
3Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh, 811 Kaufmann Medical Building, 3471 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
4Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Thomas Detre Hall, 3811 O’Hara Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
5Division of General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, Indiana University, Fifth Third Faculty Building, 720 Eskenazi Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA

Received 2 April 2015; Revised 18 July 2015; Accepted 26 July 2015

Academic Editor: Elke Bromberg

Copyright © 2015 Mariegold E. Wollam et al. 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.


Introduction. A family history of Alzheimer’s disease is a significant risk factor for its onset, but the genetic risk associated with possessing multiple risk alleles is still poorly understood. Methods. In a sample of 95 older adults (Mean age = 75.1, 64.2% female), we constructed a genetic risk score based on the accumulation of risk alleles in BDNF, COMT, and APOE. A neuropsychological evaluation and consensus determined cognitive status (44 nonimpaired, 51 impaired). Logistic regression was performed to determine whether the genetic risk score predicted cognitive impairment above and beyond that associated with each gene. Results. An increased genetic risk score was associated with a nearly 4-fold increased risk of cognitive impairment (OR = 3.824, = .013) when including the individual gene polymorphisms as covariates in the model. Discussion. A risk score combining multiple genetic influences may be more useful in predicting late-life cognitive impairment than individual polymorphisms.