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Interactions between Apolipoprotein E Genes and Religiosity in Relation to Mild Cognitive Impairment

Author(s): Liqun Wang, Zhizhong Wang, Harold G Koenig, Saad Alshohaib


Religion is a social determinant that is positively associated with cognitive function. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the link between religion and cognitive function; however, no studies have yet examined the interactions between religion and risk genes. The current study sought to examine the effects of religiosity on cognitive functioning in a large Chinese sample.


A total of 2,410 community residents aged 55 years and older were recruited from the Ningxia province of China. Apolipoprotein E (APOE) gene polymorphisms were detected using the high-resolution melting curve method. The Mini-Mental State Exam and Duke University Religion Index were administered to assess cognitive function and religiosity. The logistic regression model was used to examine the relationships.


Participants with the ÆÃ�?�?Â�?4 allele and without high religiosity had the highest risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) (OR=1.95; 95% CI: 1.24-3.07); the synergy index was 0.40 for religiosity and the ÆÃ�?�?Â�?4 allele and was 1.55 for religiosity and the ÆÃ�?�?Â�?2 allele. The logistic regression model revealed a significant negative interaction effect between the ÆÃ�?�?Â�?4 carrier status and high religiosity (OR=0.45; 95% CI: 0.25-0.84).


This study provides the initial evidence of a beneficial modifying effect for religiosity on relationship between the APOE ÆÃ�?�?Â�?4 carrier and MCI, however, further prospective studies are needed to confirm the finding.

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