Brain aging in normal Egyptians: cognition, education, personality, genetic and immunological study.

Elwan, O., O. Madkour, F. Elwan, M. Mostafa, A. Abbas Helmy, M. Abdel-Naseer, S. Abdel Shafy, and N. El Faiuomy, "Brain aging in normal Egyptians: cognition, education, personality, genetic and immunological study.", Journal of the neurological sciences, vol. 211, issue 1-2, pp. 15-22, 2003 Jul 15.


Studying the cognitive and immunological changes that occur in old age as well as genetic function have been considered an important subject to differentiate between normal brain aging and early dementia especially Alzheimer's disease. The aim of this study is to stress on age-related neuropsychological and electrophysiological (P(300)) changes in normal Egyptian subjects, to throw light on the value of genetic (Apo-E(4) genotype) and immunological markers [interleukin-6 (IL-6) and intercellular adhesion molecules (ICAM-1) in the serum] as tools used in early detection of cognitive decline in cerebral aging. Ninety-four normal Egyptian subjects (below and above 60 years) were submitted to the following: (1) neuropsychological tests for testing memory, perception, psychomotor performance and attention, (2) Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) for personality traits, (3) event-related potential study (P(300), latency and amplitude), (4) genetic test for detection of Apolipoprotein E genotype and (5) immunological studies including detection of the level of IL-6 and ICAM-1 in serum. There was a significant impairment of memory, psychomotor performance and perception in elderly subjects particularly males and subjects with low level of education. Regarding personality, significantly high scores were obtained in neuroticism scale of EPQ in elderly subjects. Apo-E(3)/E(3) was the most common genotype encountered in Egyptian subjects (49.1%). It was found that subjects with Apo-E(4) genotype did significantly worse in scores of intentional memory test (sensory memory) when compared with other genotypes. Statistically significant impairment in attention and sensory memory was found in subjects with high IL-6 level. This could not be detected in subjects with high ICAM-1 level. In conclusion, advancing age and lower levels of education are considered risk factors for cognitive decline in normal brain aging. Neuropsychological tests remain as the highly sensitive tools for detection of early cognitive impairment. Neurotic traits are more encountered in old age. Apo-E(4) genotype is associated with significant sensory (intentional) memory impairment. High IL-6 level in the serum is accompanied by significant impairment in attention and sensory (intentional) memory.