Non-ashkenazi jewish origin is associated with early onset Alzheimer's disease

Ophir Keret, Tzippy Shochat, Israel Steiner, Amir Glik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early-onset Alzheimer's disease (EOAD) accounts for 1-5% of Alzheimer's disease cases and is associated with specific ethnicities. It has been our impression that non-Ashkenazi Jews have a higher rate of EOAD and we therefore explored this hypothesis. We performed a retrospective case control study of EOAD cases referred to our cognitive neurology clinic between January 1999 and December 2016. Patients (n = 129) were compared to age- and geographically-matched controls generated from the Second Israeli National Health Survey (n = 1,811). Data on country of origin, education, dementia family history, depression, and vascular risk factors were compared between the groups. The association of non-Ashkenazi Jewish heritage and country of origin with EOAD was calculated using a logistic multivariate regression model. The EOAD group's mean age was 59.6±4.1 years, with a female predominance (64.3%). The EOAD group had a higher percentage of individuals of non-Ashkenazi Jewish origin (64.3% versus 51.4%, p = 0.003) and of Yemenite descent in particular (16.28% versus 6.24%, p < 0.001). On multiple logistic regression analysis, Yemenite Jewish origin was an independently associated with EOAD (OR 2.54, 95% CI 1.4-4.8). There were no significant differences in parameters between non-Ashkenazi and Ashkenazi Jews. Only 4.6% of EOAD cases had a positive EOAD family history. In conclusion, EOAD is over-represented among non-Ashkenazi Jews. Yemenite origin is independently associated with EOAD and the majority of patients with EOAD have no family history of Alzheimer's disease. Further evaluation with genetic studies is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-884
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • early onset Alzheimer's disease
  • early-onset dementia
  • ethnicity
  • young onset dementia


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