APOE e4-related memory deficits were reported in a normal population aged between 50 and 60 when controlling for general cognitive ability in early adulthood. This extended findings of APOE e4 effects on cognitive ability in 60-80-year-olds to a younger group and confirmed that this effect relates to changes in memory ability with age. The present study tests the association of APOE e4 variation with verbal and spatial memory in a sample of 70-year-olds both adjusted and non-adjusted for childhood and adult general cognitive ability. The 1,013 participants comprise surviving members of the 1947 Scottish Mental Survey resident in the Lothian area of Scotland. They were tested on general cognitive ability at age 11 years and followed up at about age 70 with tests of verbal (immediate and delayed) and spatial memory. General linear models were used to test the association between variation in the APOE polymorphism (e4 presence vs. absence) and memory measures. Of the eight measures tested, Spatial span forward was significantly associated with APOE e4 variation (P = 0.04) when adjusting for IQ, whereas Logical memory immediate was associated with APOE e4 variation (P = 0.04) in the analysis not controlling for IQ. Neither of these tests was significant when a correction for multiple testing was applied. APOE e4 does not influence memory abilities in a normal population of 70-year-olds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-14
Number of pages9
JournalBehavior Genetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • Cognitive ageing
  • Genetic association
  • Memory
  • Cognition
  • APOE


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