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Doctors plan to test a gene therapy that could prevent Alzheimer’s disease

o one knows for certain what causes Alzheimer’s disease. But one fact about the condition has gained nearly irrefutable status. Depending on what versions of a gene called APOEyou inherit, your risk of the brain disorder can be half the average—or more than 12 times as high.

Sometimes called “the forgetting gene,” APOE comes in three common versions, called 2, 3, and 4. Type 2 lowers a person’s risk, 3 is average, and 4 increases the chance dramatically. The risk is so great that doctors avoid testing people for APOE because a bad result can be upsetting, and there’s nothing to do about it. There’s no cure, and you can’t change your genes, either.

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