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Alzheimer's and Autism

Posted: Fri May 24, 2024 2:05 pm
by Kraken-002
Hello everyone! I am a 25 year old female, and I just got the results from MyHeritage that I inherited the APOE4 gene. I'm not sure if I have 3/4 or 2/4, but I'm 99% sure it is not 4/4, as the results only mention 1 gene.

The reason why I'm very worried is because I also have Autism. From learning more about Alzheimer's, I just read articles that menction that the dementia risk was 4x higher in people with Autism. I'm a bit anxious about my future.

Any comforting advice or hard facts are appreciated.


More about my lifestyle:

Lost 2 stone (28lbs/12.7kg) in 2020. My weight fluctuates around 10st (140lbs/63.5kg).

My diet's not the best, but I have just started intermittent fasting this week.

I struggle to sleep sometimes, but I get 6 hours on average.

I exercise almost everyday and have an active job in my mum's cafe.

I am unable to take large amounts of caffiene from 2022 following a major anxiety attack. Any caffinated beverage triggers heart palpitations and sleepless nights, but they haven't happened for about a year since quitting.

Have never smoked, vaped or drunk alcohol before.

I struggle to socialise to anyone outside of my family group, and don't have many friends.

I play a lot of video games and love computers, unsure if that's affecting my brain haha

Re: Alzheimer's and Autism

Posted: Fri May 24, 2024 3:41 pm
by Lyre Taylor
Kraken-002 wrote: Fri May 24, 2024 2:05 pm Hello everyone! I am a 25 year old female, and I just got the results from MyHeritage that I inherited the APOE4 gene. I'm not sure if I have 3/4 or 2/4, but I'm 99% sure it is not 4/4, as the results only mention 1 gene.

The reason why I'm very worried is because I also have Autism. From learning more about Alzheimer's, I just read articles that menction that the dementia risk was 4x higher in people with Autism. I'm a bit anxious about my future.

Any comforting advice or hard facts are appreciated.


More about my lifestyle:

Lost 2 stone (28lbs/12.7kg) in 2020. My weight fluctuates around 10st (140lbs/63.5kg).

My diet's not the best, but I have just started intermittent fasting this week.

I struggle to sleep sometimes, but I get 6 hours on average.

I exercise almost everyday and have an active job in my mum's cafe.

I am unable to take large amounts of caffiene from 2022 following a major anxiety attack. Any caffinated beverage triggers heart palpitations and sleepless nights, but they haven't happened for about a year since quitting.

Have never smoked, vaped or drunk alcohol before.

I struggle to socialise to anyone outside of my family group, and don't have many friends.

I play a lot of video games and love computers, unsure if that's affecting my brain haha
Hello and welcome!
I understand how you feel. It can be a shock to find out you have this gene. Thank you for reaching out and sharing about yourself. You have found a supportive community here. You are not alone! I would like to commend you for trying to make some positive lifestyle changes. The fact that you exercise regularly is good for brain health. Using modifiable lifestyle factors is the key to fighting this disease. It takes a lot of work and commitment, but it is worth it. Our genes are not our destiny! While I am not aware of a link between Autism and Alzheimer’s disease, I am sure someone in this community will be able to help you with your question. If you haven't already checked out apoe4.info, as a Support Team Intern I'm happy to share several tools & resources to help you get the most out of your experience here. The Primer is a detailed and informative resource written by a practicing M.D. with ApoE4/4. It includes information about the biochemistry of the ApoE4 gene and offers a variety of research-based prevention strategies.

Some helpful tips to navigate the site include the How-To Guide. It includes topics such as navigating the forum, private messaging, and searching. One great tip is using the quote (") button when replying to a post. Using the button will automatically alert the member of your response.

Wiki Main Page contains a wealth of information.

If you are interested in learning more about other members check out Our Stories.

Again, I am so glad you joined our forum. Stay positive and curious. Please feel free to reach out anytime.

Warmly,
Lyre

Re: Alzheimer's and Autism

Posted: Fri May 24, 2024 5:09 pm
by NF52
Kraken-002 wrote: Fri May 24, 2024 2:05 pm Hello everyone! I am a 25 year old female, and I just got the results from MyHeritage that I inherited the APOE4 gene. I'm not sure if I have 3/4 or 2/4, but I'm 99% sure it is not 4/4, as the results only mention 1 gene.

The reason why I'm very worried is because I also have Autism. From learning more about Alzheimer's, I just read articles that menction that the dementia risk was 4x higher in people with Autism. I'm a bit anxious about my future.

Any comforting advice or hard facts are appreciated.
Welcome, Kraken!

I have known, worked with and taught many amazing people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I learned that I held incorrect assumptions about people with ASD. Autism occurs on a spectrum, which is why many organizations serving individuals with autism use a rainbow logo like this one:

Image https://pixels.com/featured/autism-rain ... bogan.html

The range of ASD may be especially true for women, who may refer themselves for diagnosis, or self-diagnose at a later age. But it may be true for you that environments that many "neurotypical" people find enjoyable (noisy, social, lots of unwritten "rules") would feel like wearing a scratchy sweater in the middle of a formal dance to you.

So I always appreciate these quotes from Temple Grandin, a woman with ASD who revolutionized humane treatment for cattle and other animals, and who "thinks in pictures":
  • Q: What would happen if the autism gene was eliminated from the gene pool?
    A: You would have a bunch of people standing around in a cave, chatting and socializing and not getting anything done.”
  • “The Internet may be the best thing yet for improving an autistic person’s social life.”
  • “One of the problems in understanding sensory issues is that sensory sensitivities are very variable, among individuals and within the same individual. A person can be hyper-sensitive in one area (like hearing) and hypo-sensitive in another (like touch).
  • “There is often too much emphasis in the world of autism on the deficits of these children and not enough emphasis on developing the special talents that many of them possess.”
  • “DIFFERENT NOT LESS”
https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes ... din?page=3

It's important to remember that when articles talk about people who were diagnosed with Autism in your grandparents' generation, they typically were not ASD as we understand it today, and had other learning or developmental issues. It's like saying most women born in 1930 did not get college degrees; therefore women are less able to get college degrees.

Here's the abstract of an article published less than two years ago in the highly respected journal Nature. It used GWAS (genome-wide association studies) among more than 100,000 people, conducted by statisticians and other researchers at the University of Bristol, where Alzheimer's research is done well. I've added bold emphasis on some parts. "Bidirectional" means looking at whether ASD is associated with Alzheimer's, even if it doesn't cause it, or vice-versa. "Causal effects" would be genes that are associated with ASD causing Alzheimer's or those associated with Alzheimer's risk (like ApoE 4) causing ASD.
[ A] few studies suggest possible links between attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Alzheimer’s disease but they have been limited by small sample sizes, diagnostic and recall bias[/b]. We used two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) to estimate the bidirectional causal association between genetic liability to ADHD and ASD on Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, we estimated the causal effects independently of educational attainment and IQ, through multivariable Mendelian randomization (MVMR). We employed genetic variants associated with ADHD (20,183 cases/35,191 controls), ASD (18,381 cases/27,969 controls), Alzheimer’s disease (71,880 cases/383,378 controls), educational attainment (n = 766,345) and IQ (n = 269,867) using the largest GWAS of European ancestry. There was limited evidence to suggest a causal effect of genetic liability to ADHD (odds ratio [OR] = 1.00, 95% CI: 0.98–1.02, P = 0.39) or ASD (OR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.97–1.01, P = 0.70) on Alzheimer’s disease.
Similar causal effect estimates were identified as direct effects, independent of educational attainment (ADHD: OR = 1.00, 95% CI: 0.99–1.01, P = 0.76; ASD: OR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.98–1.00, P = 0.28) and IQ (ADHD: OR = 1.00, 95% CI: 0.99–1.02. P = 0.29; ASD: OR = 0.99, 95% CI: 0.98–1.01, P = 0.99). Genetic liability to Alzheimer’s disease was not found to have a causal effect on risk of ADHD or ASD (ADHD: OR = 1.12, 95% CI: 0.86–1.44, P = 0.37; ASD: OR = 1.19, 95% CI: 0.94–1.51, P = 0.14). We found limited evidence to suggest a causal effect of genetic liability to ADHD or ASD on Alzheimer’s disease; and vice versa.

Strengths and limitations
The present study is the first investigating the possible causal associations between genetic liability to ADHD, ASD and Alzheimer’s disease within a Mendelian randomization framework. This method allowed us to investigate causal relationships in the largest samples to date for the three phenotypes of interest, without the presence of confounding. In addition, we scrutinised the validity of our findings through sensitivity analyses as well as Multivariable MR that allowed us to assess whether any causal effects were masked by IQ and educational attainment.
Exploring the causal effects of genetic liability to ADHD and Autism on Alzheimer’s disease

Take-Away: They found NO evidence that ASD causes or is associated with Alzheimer's genetically, or by education or by IQ.


I wonder if you could find online communities of others who enjoy the same video games as you, who would be great friends, even if they live in other countries. If like Temple Grandin you enjoy being around animals, you might find that your local humane society would love to have you as a volunteer and you'd meet like-minded people there. You may also find that your local secondary school could use some help for students who are struggling in their computer lab, and who would view you as a wise adult! And a senior center may have people who would treasure you like a granddaughter if you helped them use Zoom, Face Time or email to reach their old friends.

At 25, you are going to witness amazing changes in what we know about both ASD and ApoE 4. Don't pay attention to articles that use small samples of people born 70 years before you, or mice! You've got a brain that is wired to make connections in unique and wonderful ways!

Nancy