Senior Honors Theses

Publication Date

Spring 4-16-2013

School

College of Arts and Sciences

Major

Biology: Pre-Med

Primary Subject Area

Biology, Genetics; Biology, Molecular

Keywords

Alzheimer's Disease, Apolipoprotein E, Epigenetics, Diet

Disciplines

Genetics | Molecular Genetics

Abstract

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disorder, which currently affects nearly 5.5 million people in the United States alone. Clinical features often exhibited in AD include memory loss, unusual behavior, personality changes, and impaired cognitive function. The primary molecular hallmarks of AD include deposits of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in brain tissue. A myriad of risk factors are associated with the disease, but this review will focus on Apolipoprotein E polymorphisms and certain environmental factors. Understanding the role of Apolipoprotein E in AD pathology may aid in the development of certain drug therapies and possible cures for AD. Moreover, epigenetic mechanisms such as deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) methylation are equally important in understanding AD pathology. Environmental factors may have the potential to induce the epigenetic mechanisms associated with AD. As a result of these new findings, the focus of some AD research has recently shifted to a preventive approach in understanding AD pathology. The relationship between Apolipoprotein E polymorphisms and environmental factors in AD pathology will address the importance of preventive measures that can be taken in regard to AD.

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