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November 18, 1998

The APOE-∊4 Allele and Alzheimer Disease Among African Americans, Hispanics, and Whites

Author Affiliations

Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998

JAMA. 1998;280(19):1661-1663. doi:10-1001/pubs.JAMA-ISSN-0098-7484-280-19-jbk1118

To the Editor.—Dr Tang and colleagues1 find a discrepancy between the presence of the APOE-∊4 allele and the risk of AD among African Americans, whites, and Hispanics in the United States and suggest that other genetic or environmental factors were involved. In fact, dietary risks for AD have been discussed in the medical literature during the past year. Based on the findings that African Americans have 4 times the AD prevalence for those aged 65 years or older as native Nigerians (6.2% vs 1.4%)2 and that Japanese Americans have 2.2 times the AD prevalence as native Japanese (4.2% vs 1.9%),2 I conducted a multicountry analysis of AD prevalence vs national dietary supply of macronutrients.2 Data from 11 countries, including 7 European and North American countries, were analyzed. The study found that dietary energy intake and fat supply 4 years prior to the AD prevalence study were the highest dietary risk factors, while dietary fish reduced the risk of AD.2 The dietary analysis also found that the prevalence of AD for those aged 65 years or older in the United States is 5.2%, not 10% as is often quoted. (The 10% figure is based on a study finding that 95% of those with senile dementia had AD.2)

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