Alzheimer’s gene tied to better diet response

A genetic variant that has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease may have a beneficial effect in patients with type 2 diabetes. In a new study, patients with this variant, known as apoE4, experienced a greater drop in “bad” LDL cholesterol levels when dieting than their peers without this variant.

Dr. Masaaki Eto and colleagues, from Kawasaki Medical School, in Kurashiki, Japan, put 11 diabetic patients with ApoE4 and to 24 patients without this variant on a calorie-restricted diet. The results are published in the medical journal Diabetes Care.

Both groups lost a modest amount of weight and experienced a drop in blood sugar levels. In the ApoE4 group, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels all decreased significantly with dieting, the authors note. In contrast, patients lacking the variant only showed a reduction in triglyceride levels.

Further studies are needed to clarify how apoE4 improves the cholesterol response to dieting and to look at the effects of other genes that may be involved, the authors state.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, June 2004.

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Revision date: July 4, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD