Alzheimer's Disease and Some Speculations about the Evolution of Its Modifiers


Address for correspondence: Dr. Robert M. Sapolsky, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305. Voice: 650-723-2649; fax: 650-723-6132.


Abstract: In this paper we consider the evolution of Alzheimer's-like neuropathology in the aging primate brain. In particular, we examine the evolutionary pressures that have likely selected for the neuroprotective effects of estrogen and of the apolipoprotein E2 and E3 isoforms. We analyze this in the context of the altricial nature of newborn primates, their long period of dependency on competent maternal care, and the requirement of cognitive intactness for such competency.