New genetic risk marker for late-life depression

One of the most powerful predictors in neuropsychiatry is the epsilon 4 (?4) allele of the apolipoprotein gene (APOE). Individuals who carry this ?4 variant of APOE are at increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, early age of Alzheimer’s disease onset, and more rapid progression of Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. APOE ?4 has also been associated with atherosclerosis as well as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. A new study suggests that even when controlling for the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, the APOE ?4 allele also conveys an increased risk for late-life depression.