Most rapid cognitive decline in APOE epsilon 4 negative Alzheimer's disease with early onset

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Background We aimed to compare the rate of cognitive decline in patients with early and late onset Alzheimer's disease (AD) and to investigate the potentially modifying influence of the apolipoprotein E (APOE) genotype.Method We included 99 patients with early onset AD (age 65 years) and 192 patients with late onset AD (age >65 years) who had at least two scores on the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) (range 214) obtained at least 1 year apart. Linear mixed models were performed to investigate the rate of cognitive decline dependent on age at onset (AAO) and APOE genotype.Results The mean (s.d.) age for patients with early onset AD was 57.7 (4.5) years, and 74.5 (5.1) years for patients with late onset AD. AAO was not associated with baseline MMSE [ (s.e.)=0.8 (0.5), p=0.14]. However, patients with early onset showed a faster decline on the MMSE [ (s.e.)=2.4 (0.1) points/year] than those with late onset [ (s.e.)=1.7 (0.1) points/year, p=0.00]. After stratification according to APOE genotype, APOE 4 non-carriers with early onset showed faster cognitive decline than non-carriers with late onset [2.4 (0.3) v. 1.3 (0.3) points/year, p=0.01]. In APOE 4 carriers, no difference in rate of cognitive decline was found between patients with early and late onset [ (s.e.)=0.2 (0.2), p=0.47].Conclusion Patients with early onset AD show more rapid cognitive decline than patients with late onset, suggesting that early onset AD follows a more aggressive course. Furthermore, this effect seems to be most prominent in patients with early onset who do not carry the genetic APOE 4 risk factor for AD. © 2009 Cambridge University Press.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1907-1911
JournalPsychological Medicine
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Cite this