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The APOE*4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD), but whether it also affects the course of the disease is controversial. However, all studies on this issue until now have been based on patients at various stages of disease. In the present population-based study, 97 patients were included at a similar stage, i.e., before the onset of symptoms, and followed for up to 5 years. We found that the APOE*4 allele is not a strong determinant of survival in AD. As change in cognitive function and severity of dementia are similar for AD patients with and without APOE*4, our study suggests that progression of AD is not related to the APOE*4 allele.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of neurology

Publication Date





304 - 308


Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Erasmus University Medical School, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Humans, Dementia, Alzheimer Disease, Disease Progression, Apolipoproteins E, Prognosis, Survival Analysis, Cohort Studies, Follow-Up Studies, Cognition, Alleles, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male