Investigating changes in memory and attention associated with ageing

Study code
NBR005 / CBR152

Lead researcher
Professor Anne Nobre

Study type
Participant re-contact

Institution or company
University of Oxford

Researcher type

Speciality area
Neurological Disorders, Ageing

Recruitment Site


Apolipoprotein-E (APOE) ε4 gene confers the highest genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). We tested a group of older individuals with or without this genetic risk factor on two recently developed tests of short- and long- term memories.

Participants required to keep in mind objects and their corresponding locations for short (seconds) or long (minutes) durations. Individuals at risk of developing AD performed worse in our memory test following longer delays of few minutes.

Paradoxically, however, we found better short-term memory in individuals at risk of developing AD. The dissociable effect of this gene on short- and long-term memories provides a more comprehensive profile of memory performance in at risk individuals, and as a consequence, aids our ability to develop more sensitive tasks to detect AD at its earliest stages.

Participation: Sixty-six individuals participated in this study from the Cambridge BioResource.

Organisation: The study was approved by the University of Oxford ethics committee

The full paper can be found in the Journal of Neurobiology of Ageing here.