. Maternal family history of Alzheimer's disease predisposes to reduced brain glucose metabolism. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Nov 27;104(48):19067-72. PubMed.

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  1. This is a clever and potentially important study. As the authors discuss, there is a stronger maternal inheritance factor for Alzheimer disease (AD). It may relate to mitochondrial DNA, which comes exclusively from the maternal side, in addition to genomic DNA that can, of course, come from either parent. By showing a relative AD pattern of CMRgl reduction in maternal vs. paternal or no family history individuals, the authors show that individuals whose mother had AD have a metabolic pattern suggesting either early-stage disease or, at the very least, topographically relevant cortical vulnerability to AD. Replication of these findings will be important for establishing the validity of this observation, especially considering the small number of people in the study as the authors readily point out. But if confirmed, it may provide further impetus to the study of maternal factors that influence AD inheritance.