Information About Genetic Testing
Having a test to look for a faulty gene that causes dementia is only appropriate for a very small number of people. This is because inherited dementia is rare.
If you are worried that you have a strong history family of early-onset Alzheimers disease or frontotemporal dementia, you can speak to your doctor about this.
Not all gene mutations that cause dementia have been identified, meaning that some families may have many affected members, but no mutation can be found. Therefore, a negative test result cannot always rule out a genetic cause of a disease.
If a test is appropriate, your doctor should be able to refer you to a genetic counsellor or specialist. This could be a cognitive neurologist or memory clinic psychiatrist. They will discuss with you the pros and cons of taking a test and what will be involved. They will also tell you where the results will be kept, who they will be shared with, and what the next steps would be. For people found to have a genetic mutation that causes dementia, these discussions will also cover the options available if you are considering starting a family.
To find out more about genetic testing and what support is available you can visit www.raredementiasupport.org or call 020 3325 0828. Leave a message and you will be referred to the most appropriate team member.
People Affected By Dementia Are Often Concerned About Whether The Condition Can Be Passed Along In Families
Here we discuss the role of heredity in Alzheimers disease and other forms of dementia.
Dementia is the term used to describe the symptoms of a large group of illnesses which cause a progressive decline in a persons functioning. It is a broad term to describe a loss of memory, intellect, rationality, social skills and what would be considered normal emotional reactions. Alzheimers disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 50% to 70% of all cases of dementia. It occurs relatively frequently in older people, regardless of family history. For females aged 65 to 69 years dementia affects 1 person in 80 compared to 1 person in 60 for males. For both males and females aged 85 and over the rate is approximately 1 person in 4.
Your Genes Are Not Your Destiny
Studies show that our genetics predict only about 20-30% of our longevity. The rest is up to our lifestyle choices. Its similar for dementia risk. When Bud saw his brain scans and his cognitive testing results, he got serious about his physical health and his brain health. He completely overhauled his dietdramatically reducing his sugar consumption, increasing his intake of protein and healthy fats, decreasing the number of processed carbohydrates, and adding important nutritional supplements. He also started exercising and began using a CPAP machine to help his sleep apnea.
Within a year, he dropped 30 pounds and was happy to seeblood pressure and blood sugar levels fall into a healthy range. Even better,he said his memory and focus were better than when he was in his 20s. Withthese lifestyle changes, Bud had lowered his risk for the dreaded disease. Youcan do it too.
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Take Part In Dementia Research
There are many dementia research projects and clinical trials going on around the world, many of which are based in the UK.
If you have a dementia diagnosis or are worried about memory problems, you can help scientists understand more about it, and develop possible treatments, by taking part in research.
Carers can also take part, as there are studies into the best ways to care for someone with a dementia diagnosis.
The Role Of Genetics: Will I Get Alzheimers Disease
Scientists are still trying to determine the underlying causes of Alzheimers disease. The hope is that one day we will be able to stop the disease from progressing or perhaps even prevent it altogether. To date, researchers have identified a few genes that play an important role in Alzheimers. Some of these genes are simply risk factors for Alzheimers disease. Other genes are hereditary and will cause Alzheimers disease to develop.
There are two types of Alzheimers disease: early-onset Alzheimers disease and late-onset Alzheimers disease. Early-onset Alzheimers disease is rare, occurring in people age 60 and younger. This represents less than 5% of all people with Alzheimers. One type of early-onset Alzheimers disease is known as autosomal dominant Alzheimers disease or early-onset familial Alzheimers disease . This is even more uncommon, affecting less than 1% of all people with Alzheimers. What makes this type of early-onset Alzheimers disease so unusual is that it is caused by a hereditary genetic mutation to one of three genes PSEN1, PSEN2, or APP.
A recent study examined data from 4 large, observational studies of adults ages 60 and older. The study reported the association between various APOE genotypes and the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment or dementia due to Alzheimers by age 85 as follows:
- No family history of dementia
- Being male
Factors that may increase a persons risk of developing Alzheimers include:
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What Role Do Our Genes Play In Dementia
As dementia is so common, many of us will have a relative living with the condition but this does not mean we will develop it too.
Dementia is caused by diseases that affect the brain, such as Alzheimers disease. The likelihood of developing dementia will usually depend on a complex mix of factors like our age, medical history and lifestyle, as well as our genes. Most cases of dementia are not directly caused by genes we inherit from our parents.
Can Frontotemporal Dementia Be Inherited
Sometimes, yes. FTD is relatively rare compared with Alzheimers disease or vascular dementia, but it can be passed on directly from parent to child. A diagnosis of FTD can therefore cause a great deal of worry to someone who has children or grandchildren.
Most FTD is not directly inherited, but about 40 per cent of people who develop the condition will have at least one close relative diagnosed with some kind of dementia. This can include FTD, Alzheimers disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . In general, the greater the number of relatives who have had dementia particularly FTD or ALS the greater the chances of developing familial FTD.
Of the different types of FTD, the behavioural form is the one that is inherited most often. The type of FTD which starts as primary progressive aphasia is only rarely inherited.
There are lots of different genes causing familial FTD, each with its own pattern of inheritance. If you are concerned about either passing on an FTD gene or inheriting the disease from your parents, you can ask your GP to refer you to a genetic testing service in your area. These people are specially trained to guide you through the process of finding out whether you have a gene that causes FTD. You can also get in touch with a specialist support group at Rare Dementia Support, who can provide information and advice about how to cope with having a heritable form of FTD in your family.
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Dementia
For the vast majority of people, our genes are only one factor affecting our risk of dementia. There are many other factors involved, such as age and lifestyle. While we cannot change our age or genes, research has found that up to a third of all cases of dementia could be avoided through lifestyle changes.
There are simple things we can do that may help lower our risk:
- Do not smoke.
- Drink fewer than 14 units of alcohol per week.
- Control high blood pressure.
- Keep cholesterol at a healthy level.
- Keep active and exercise regularly.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet.
You can find more detailed information about how you can reduce your risk of dementia here.
Aluminum In Cookware And Other Products
It would be difficult to significantly reduce exposure to aluminum simply by avoiding the use of aluminum products such as pots and pans, foil and beverage cans.
That’s because the use of aluminum in these products only contributes to a very small percentage of the average person’s intake of aluminum. It’s important to remember that aluminum is an element found naturally in the environment and our bodies at levels that are normal and not harmful.
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Understanding The Genetics Involved With Dementia
First, its important to know the four main types of dementia:
- Vascular Dementia Only in rare cases will vascular dementia be caused by a genetically-inherited disorder.
- Dementia with Lewy Bodies LBD encompasses two types of diseases: Parkinsons and Dementia with Lewy Bodies. About 10% of LBD cases are hereditary making it extremely rare to pass on to future generations.
- Frontotemporal Dementia FTD is more likely to be inherited than vascular dementia, though inheriting the disease is still considered rare.
- Alzheimers Disease This is the most common form of dementia affecting 50-70% of all dementia patients. The most common risk factor is age as most types of Alzheimers are not hereditary.
Second, its important to understand the role genes play in hereditary diseases. Genes pass on characteristics such as height, hair color, eye color, or the tendency to inherit certain diseases from chromosomes. Genes can contain mutations or changes some of which can be beneficial while others are harmful. While a gene associated with a certain disease may be present in a persons chromosomes, it must change or mutate to cause the disease.
How Is Frontotemporal Dementia Treated
Currently, no treatments are available to cure or slow the progression of FTD, but healthcare providers may prescribe medicine to treat symptoms. Antidepressants may help treat anxiety and control obsessive-compulsive behaviors and other symptoms. Prescription sleeping aids can help ease insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Antipsychotic medicine may reduce irrational and compulsive behaviors.
Behavior modification may help control unacceptable or risky behaviors.
Speech and language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists can help adjustment to some of the changes caused by FTD.
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Causes Of Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused by reduced blood flow to the brain, which damages and eventually kills brain cells.
This can happen as a result of:
- narrowing and blockage of the small blood vessels inside the brain
- a single stroke, where the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly cut off
- lots of “mini strokes” that cause tiny but widespread damage to the brain
Not everyone who has a stroke will go on to develop vascular dementia.
Read more about vascular dementia.
Lifestyle And Genetics Both Play A Small Role In Dementia
The lifestyle score was associated with dementia risk. Second, the genetic score was also associated with dementia. In other words, individuals with worse scores were at higher risk for dementia. The researchers further found that genetic risk and lifestyle appeared to act independently of each other. For example, individuals with both an unhealthy lifestyle and a high genetic risk score had almost two and a half times more risk than individuals with a low genetic score and healthy lifestyle.
However, this research was not designed to prove whether lifestyle and environment or genes cause dementia. A lot more could explain the differences between people who develop dementia. If populations at high genetic risk changed their lifestyle, and if the lifestyle was known to be the cause of AD , one out of 121 dementia cases would be prevented in 10 years. This is significant, but what number of lifestyle modifications would it take for the prevention of AD in 10, 50, or even 120 people? Do genetics even matter?
Second, the genes and lifestyle did not appear to work together or they werent synergistic in dementia risk. Specifically, this means that individuals with both bad genetic and lifestyle scores were not at risk for developing dementia any more than the sum of the parts or the individual scores alone.
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What Factors Might Affect Dementia Risk
Genes which are not considered modifiable and lifestyle factors like physical activity and diet which are considered modifiable play potential roles in different forms of dementia.
A recent study in JAMA attempts to estimate how much genetic and lifestyle factors influence risk for dementia by querying individuals who pledged to be part of a UK-based biobank. Biobanks link large collections of biological information, such as genetics, with health and disease status gleaned from medical records. Using data in large biobanks, scientists can look at how the environment which includes lifestyle choices and genetics work together to increase risk for disease.
In the JAMA study, researchers tapped hospital records and death registries to collect diagnoses in 200,000 white British individuals age 60 or older.
Does Dementia Run In Family
. Just so, what types of dementia are hereditary?
Understanding GeneticsFirst, be aware that there are four common types of dementia vascular dementia, dementia with Lewy bodies , frontotemporal dementia , and Alzheimer’s. Some types of dementia are more hereditary than others.
Beside above, does early onset dementia run in families? Early–onset Alzheimer’s may be more inheritableAlzheimer’s disease does run in some families, particularly in early onset cases in which someone gets the disease well before the age of 65. You may also want to undergo genetic testing yourself to better understand your family situation.
Thereof, is Alzheimer’s inherited from mother or father?
En español | If your mother has Alzheimer’s, you are more likely to develop the disease than if your father has Alzheimer’s, according to a study published today in the journal Neurology. The study adds to a growing body of evidence that a tendency for the disease appears to be passed down through the mother’s genes.
What are the chances of getting dementia if a parent has it?
About 50% of the family members will develop the disease before the age of 60. is the best known genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s in later life. APOE comes in 3 forms: e2, e3, e4. Each person inherits one APOE gene from their birth mother, the other from their birth father.
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Make Sure Youre Protected
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At LTC Consumer, we understand the financial and emotional challenges people face with a dementia diagnosis. To learn more about how you can protect yourself and your family, get a free LTCI quote and speak with an LTC Specialist to create your long-term care plan today.
How Likely Am I To Inherit Fad
If someone has one of the gene mutations that cause FAD, then each of their children has a 50% chance of inheriting the faulty gene. Each sibling of someone with the faulty gene will have had a 50% chance of inheriting it.
An affected parent could have all children affected or unaffected, or a mixture of both. FAD affects males and females equally and does not skip generations. However, it may appear to skip a generation if a person with the faulty gene dies of another cause before symptoms develop.
Individuals with familial Alzheimers disease usually have a strong family history of the illness, which means that, as well as one of their parents, they know of cousins, aunts/uncles and grandparents who were affected at a similar age and who belong to the side of the family of their affected parent. In some cases, an individual may not know whether they have a family history of Alzheimers disease, for example if they do not know their biological parents or if their parents died young.
As far as we know, if an individual is tested and has inherited one of these faulty genes, then they will almost certainly go on to develop Alzheimers disease at some point in their life. They are also highly likely to develop symptoms around the same age that their parent developed them. This means if you are a lot older than an affected parent and do not have problems then you are unlikely to have inherited the genetic mutation and your children are not at risk.
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Genes That May Influence Alzheimers
The above-linked Alzheimers Society article is informed by responses from Professor Nick Fox, Honorary Consultant Neurologist at the Institute of Neurology in London. The article tells us:
- 99% of Alzheimers cases are not hereditary. And since the most significant risk factor is age, its not uncommon to have a parent or grandparent with Alzheimers disease who is in their late 70s and 80s. In that same 99% of Alzheimers cases, your risk of inheriting of Alzheimers compared to the rest of the population is very slight.
- In less than 1% of all Alzheimers cases, there is a very rare type that is hereditary. Early-onset Familial Alzheimers Disease, , described here and here, affects between 2-3% of the population. If a physician diagnoses you with eFAD, one of your parents will have had the disease if they lived long enough. In addition, your siblings and children may have a 50-50 chance of inheriting eFAD. Note that early-onset Alzheimers usually occurs in individuals who are in their 30s, 40s or 50s. In rare cases, it occurs when a person is in their 20s.
- Researchers have discovered that certain genes will cause early-onset Familial Alzheimers Disease if they have a specific kind of mutation or change. Known as PS1, PS2 and APP, the full names of these genes are: Amyloid precursor protein gene APP on chromosome 21 Presenilin 1 on chromosome 14 and presenilin 2 on chromosome 1.