The gold standard of treatment for Alzheimer's disease is the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. There are currently four AChE inhibitors available: tacrine, rivastigmine, galantamine, and donepezil. Donepezil and galantamine are AChE-selective, while tacrine and rivastigmine are dual inhibitors of both AChE and butyrylcholinesterase (BuChE).
The common BuChE variants, are the BuChE-K variant and the atypical variant. Patients with these substitutions will potentially have a higher level of acetylcholine in their brains, and they would be expected to have better attentional performance than those individuals with the wild type (normal) BuChE. Further reduction of the enzyme from the medication may not have an additional impact upon their acetylcholine levels.
This study will try to determine the allelic frequency of the BuChE-K variant in a control population versus a population of Alzheimer's patients among five different ethnic groups prevalent in south Florida.