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Polygence Scholar2021
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Elizabeth Frisbie

Richard Montgomery High SchoolClass of 2023Germantown, Maryland

Project Portfolio

Risk Factors of Alzheimer’s Disease, and the Impact of Socioeconomic Status

Started June 4, 2021

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Abstract or project description

While the etiology of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is unknown, scientists have identified many risk factors, which will be examined in this review (Watwood, 2011). These risk factors include age, genetics, cardiovascular health, diet, sleep, mental health, education, and socioeconomic status (SES). In AD, a protein called beta-amyloid accumulates slowly over time, resulting in the risk of developing AD increasing with age (Jaroudi et al., 2017). Additionally, some individuals have genes that increase their risk of developing early-onset AD (Serrano-Pozo et al., 2021). During sleep, waste products and beta-amyloid buildup are cleared from the brain, highlighting the importance of sleep in AD progression (Cordone et al., 2019). Mounting evidence shows that other lifestyle factors, such as cardiovascular health and diet, affect one’s risk of developing AD (McGurran et al., 2019),(S. Pugazhenthi; L. Qin; P. Hemachandra Reddy, 2016). Besides physical health, depression affects an individual’s risk of AD, and is often a comorbid condition with AD (Novais & Starkstein, 2015). Furthermore, cognitive reserve plays an important role in delaying the onset of clinical symptoms of AD, and has been shown to increase with years of education (Xu et al., 2016). Finally, these risk factors will be discussed in the context of SES. Through discussion of AD and its risk factors, this paper aims to raise awareness of the influence of SES on the risk of developing AD and to suggest potential interventional strategies.