Family History of Alzheimer's: How Does it Affect Your Risk?

Monday, March 5, 2018

Researcher Sylvia Villeneuve from The Douglas Hospital Research Centre in Montreal is investigating the importance of family history in Alzheimer’s disease. The study looked at 101 participants and found that the closer a participant gets to the age at which their parent showed signs of Alzheimer’s the more likely they are to have amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaques are a key characteristic of cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The study explains that the difference between one’s age and their parent’s age of onset is a more important risk factor than just their age. Villeneuve gives an example, “A 60-year-old whose mother developed Alzheimer’s at age 63 would be more likely to have amyloid plaques in their brain than a 70-year-old whose mother developed the disease at age 85”. The researchers also found that the link between parents age at onset and amyloid deposits is stronger in women than in men. Additionally, they found this link to be stronger in individuals who are carriers of the ApoE4 gene, which is commonly referred to as the Alzheimer’s gene. This research has been duplicated across two other independent groups consisting of 128 and 135 individuals respectively. These results may allow for earlier detection in individuals with family history of Alzheimer’s.
SOURCE: McGill Med e-News: http://publications.mcgill.ca/medenews/2018/02/27/the-onset-of-alzheimers-disease-the-importance-of-family-history/
DATE RETRIEVED: February 28, 2018

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