Research to understand variability at the highest end of the cognitive performance distribution has been scarce. Our aim was to define a cognitive endophenotype based on exceptional episodic memory (EM) performance and to investigate familial aggregation of EM in families from the Long Life Family Study (LLFS). Using a sample of 1911 nondemented offspring of long-lived probands, we created a quantitative phenotype, EM (memory z ≥ 1.5), and classified LLFS families as EM and non-EM families based on the number of EM offspring. We then assessed differences in memory performance between LLFS relatives in the parental generation of EM families and those in non-EM families using multivariate analysis adjusted for APOE Apolipoprotein E genotype. LLFS relatives in the proband generation from EM families showed better EM performance than those from non-EM families (β = 0.74, standard error = 0.19, p = 1.4 × 10(-4)). We demonstrated that there is a familial correlation of the EM endophenotype, suggesting that genetic variants might influence memory performance in long-lived families.
Neurobiology of Aging, 2013, Vol 34, Issue 11, p. 2445-8
Exceptional memory; Genetic variants; Long Life Family Study; Quantitative trait