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Does Early Onset Alzheimer’s Run In Families

Genes And Frontotemporal Dementia

Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease: What Families and Patients Need to Know | UCLAMDChat

Frontotemporal dementia , originally called Picks disease, is a rarer type of dementia mostly affecting people under the age of 65 years. The symptoms of FTD can be quite varied but include changes that mostly affect behaviour or language. There are different types of FTD, and these are likely to have different causes.

Some people with FTD have a family history of dementia and the condition may be inherited in some of these families. For behavioural variant FTD, a third to half of people could have a family history. This figure is thought to be much lower for other types of FTD.

Overall, around one in ten cases of FTD are thought to be caused by a faulty gene passed down in families. Several genes have been found that can cause these inherited types of FTD, including:

  • tau
  • progranulin

Mutations in the MAPT gene can cause the tau protein to behave abnormally, forming toxic clumps that can damage brain cells. We still need to understand more about how mutations in progranulin and C9ORF72 cause the disease.

The C9ORF72 gene can cause people to develop motor neurone disease, FTD or both conditions, and may affect members of the same family differently.

In cases of FTD that are not caused by faulty genes, the risk factors are not yet fully understood, and research is ongoing.

Is genetic testing available for frontotemporal dementia?

Beyond Memory Loss: How To Handle The Other Symptoms Of Alzheimers

There is a lot of talk about the emotional pain patients and caregivers suffer when a loved one loses memories to Alzheimers. But what about the other symptoms? Here are tips from a Johns Hopkins expert on what to watch for and how to manage.

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Tips For Living With Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease

Coping Skills for Yourself

  • You will experience bad days and good days. Concentrating on the good days will help you cope.
  • Join a support group. You are not alone in your struggle. There are several resources available for individuals dealing with having Alzheimers.
  • Do not let your health deteriorate. Continue to see your doctor on a regular basis and follow instructions on exercise, diet and medication.
  • Go to a professional counselor to express your feelings. Share your fears and worries with a clergy member, family or friends. Whatever you do, dont keep your feelings bottled up inside.

Helping Family and Friends Cope

  • Talk to your partner or spouse about the future and concerns like caregiving needs, finances, intimacy, taking care of your home and even children. Make decisions ahead of time while you still can.
  • Encourage your family to consider joining a support group for caregivers and family members.
  • Tell your children you have Alzheimers, about the symptoms you may experience and changes that will occur in your lives. Children are often scared and feel angry or helpless. You can record your words of encouragement, memories and feelings to share with your children when you physically cannot.
  • Socialize with your friends for as long as you can. Do not keep them in the dark. Let them know you are suffering from the disease and what to expect. Keep them in the loop and inform them about support groups.

Coping with Your Career with Early Onset Alzheimer’s

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What Does Age Have To Do With It

The age you are diagnosed with AD may have the greatest impact on your life expectancy. The earlier you are diagnosed, the longer you may live. Researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health have discovered that the average survival time for people diagnosed at age 65 is 8.3 years. The average life expectancy for people diagnosed at age 90 is 3.4 years.

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The role genetics can play in Alzheimers remains unclear. What research seems to indicate is people who have a first degree relative with Alzheimers disease may be at higher risk.

The Genetics of Alzheimers Disease

Some dementia researchers believe genetics may indeed increase your risk for developing Alzheimers by as much as 30%. Having a parent or sibling who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers disease appears to be where your gene pool comes in to the equation. The younger the family member was at the time of their diagnosis, the higher your personal risk.

Where the science is clearer is in cases of Early-onset Alzheimers. This form of the disease, also referred to as Familial Alzheimers disease , strikes adults between the ages of 30 and 60. Researchers have linked it to a gene mutation. An adult child of a parent with FAD has a 50/50 chance of inheriting the disease.

Steps to Take to Prevent Alzheimers Disease

Age continues to be the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimers disease. After the age of 65, your risk for it doubles every five years. While researchers havent been able to figure out why that is, they do believe there are controllable risk factors.

Here are a few steps you can take that may help prevent or delay this disease:

Taking a proactive approach to managing your health may cut your risk for developing Alzheimers disease.

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Genes And Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Dementia with Lewy bodies is caused by a build-up of abnormal proteins in the brain and may have symptoms similar to those seen in Parkinsons disease. Age is currently the biggest known risk factor for dementia with Lewy bodies, although research is underway to find out whether genes may also play a role.

Create Cherish And Record Memories

Knowing that you have a limited time to be who you are is a painful realization. Family and loved ones of Alzheimers patients watch memories slowly slipping out of the hands of their beloved. However, when you know that you still have time, you can use it to make and record more memories.

You can cherish the time spent with the person who may not remain the same after some time. Early diagnosis means you may still have years to be with that person, appreciate them, and love them for who they are.

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Can Genes Cause Dementia

Around 1 in 4 people aged 55 years and over has a close birth relative with dementia. Find out what part genes play in dementia and how genetics can affect the risk of developing the condition.

  • You are here: Can genes cause dementia?
  • It is well known that children can take after their parents for example, in the way they look. This is partly because many of the key characteristics of a person are passed down from parents to children in their genes.

    Most Cases Of Alzheimers Are Not Inherited

    What is early onset Alzheimer’s disease?

    The good news is that most cases of Alzheimers are not inherited. Yes, there is a gene that can affect the risk of inheriting Alzheimers. This gene is called the Apolipoprotein E or ApoE and it has three main types. One of these types, ApoE4, is what is most likely to cause Alzheimers disease. The presence of the protein does not cause the disease but it increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimers.

    More encouraging statistics show that only 50% of people with Alzheimers disease have ApoE4 and in addition, not everyone with ApoE4 suffers from it. So dont worry if you have family members who have been diagnosed with Alzheimers. The odds of not developing Alzheimers are in your favor.

    Scientists will tell you that Alzheimers is not usually hereditary. The cause may not be known but 99% of Alzheimers cases are not caused by genes inherited from parents.

    Unfortunately, if you inherit the protein that causes Alzheimers, it will not skip you. You will eventually develop the condition and that will be it. Hopefully, the cause and cure for the disease will be discovered so that people no longer have to live in fear of developing the condition.

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    Does Alzheimers Run In Your Family 7 Benefits Of Getting Diagnosed Early

    Stats suggest that Alzheimers is on its way to converting into an epidemic disease. A new case of Alzheimers disease is diagnosed every three seconds. In the US alone, nearly 500,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. The risk is escalating, and it is even higher for people with a family history of the disease.

    According to Harvard Health Watch, people with a family history of dementia are at a 30 percent higher risk of developing Alzheimers. The disease is associated with a specific gene known as apolipoprotein E . The risk increases for children who inherit this gene from their parents.

    The increase in risk, however, doesnt mean that the child will definitely develop the disease. There have been reported cases of people with more than one copy of the APOE4 gene aging normally into their 70s and 80s. Likewise, many people may still develop the disease even in the absence of APOE4.

    So, there is no need to panic. You are not bound to develop dementia because of your family history. But since you run a higher risk factor, it is best to aim for an early diagnosis.

    Early diagnosis can play a vital role in changing the way Alzheimers effects a patients life and that of their loved ones. Effective braintests can have a positive impact on the quality of life after Alzheimers. Here are a few benefits that make early diagnosis extremely important for those with a family history of the disease.

    Dementia Caused By A Single

    Of the four most common types of dementia, frontotemporal dementia is most likely to be caused by a single-gene change.

    Is dementia different when it’s caused by a single-gene change?

    Yes, it can be different in some ways.

    • It often develops earlier in life. For example, an affected person might get dementia in their 40s or 50s rather than in their 70s or above. This is known as young-onset dementia.
    • It tends to run strongly in families, with several close relatives who develop the same type of dementia. For example, a person with a single-gene dementia may have a grandparent, a parent and a brother who all had frontotemporal dementia . This is why dementia caused by a single-gene disease is sometimes known as familial dementia.

    Can single-gene dementias be inherited directly?

    Yes. If a single-gene dementia is present in a family, it is quite likely that a person from that family will develop dementia:

    • If one of the parents carries the changed gene, each child has a 1 in 2 chance of inheriting it.
    • If one of the children carries the changed gene, any brothers or sisters they have has a 1 in 2 chance of carrying it as well.

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    Genes Which May Influence Alzheimers Disease

    Having a close relative with the Alzheimers disease is not evidence of a genetic link. People who are influenced by risk factor genes are only at a slightly increased risk in developing the disease than the average population.

    The most important gene discovered to date is the Apolipoprotein E gene, which is found in chromosome 19. This gene occurs in three forms in humans: types 2, 3 and 4. Every person in the world carries two Apolipoprotein genes: they can be the same type , or a mixture of two types . What has been found is that people with at least one type 4 and especially those with two, such as 4,4, are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimers disease earlier in life than those with the other types of Apolipoprotein E. Nevertheless half of the people aged 85 who have 2 copies of apolipoprotein E 4 do not have symptoms of Alzheimers disease at that age.

    People with type 2, especially 2,2, appear to be protected against developing Alzheimers disease, until much later in life. Researchers do not understand why this is so, and there is much research underway to find out why.

    The type of Apolipoprotein does not mean definitely that Alzheimers disease will or will not occur. Indeed it is known that some people can reach 90 with type 4 and not develop dementia, whereas others with type 2 can develop dementia much earlier in life. What this means is that the type of Apolipoprotein a person has, is not enough on its own to cause Alzheimers disease.

    Problem Solving Or Planning Difficulties

    What Does It Feel Like to Have Alzheimers Disease ...

    The person may find that they have difficulty following directions, solving problems, and focusing. For example, they may find it difficult to:

    • follow a recipe
    • follow directions on a product
    • keeping track of monthly bills or expenses

    Some people often have problems like these, but if they start to happen when they did not happen before, it could indicate early onset Alzheimers disease.

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    Cause #: Past Head Trauma

    The Alzheimers Association states that scientists have found a link between traumatic brain injury and a greater risk of dementia. After a traumatic injury, your brain creates large amounts of beta amyloid. This is the same protein that develops into the damaging plaques that are a hallmark of Alzheimers.

    Theres one difference: After a traumatic brain injury, beta amyloid, although present, doesnt clump into plaques. However, the damage may increase the risk of them doing so later in life.

    What Is Early Onset Familial Alzheimer Disease

    Definition: What Is eFAD?

    Early onset familial Alzheimer disease is hereditary and marked by Alzheimer disease symptoms that appear at an unusually early age. Symptoms can start in a person’s thirties, forties, and fifties . Generally, if you are diagnosed with eFAD, then one of your parents will also have had it if he or she lived long enough, and your siblings and your children may have a 50-50 chance of having inherited it. Very rarely, eFAD can make a first-time appearance in a family through a new genetic mutation.

    Genetics researchers studied eFAD families to discover the three known genes that cause familial AD: amyloid precursor protein , presenilin-1 , and presenilin-2 . Of these, PS1 mutations account for most eFAD, while APP and PS2 are more rare. Having a pathogenic mutation in one of these three genes virtually guarantees that one will develop early onset Alzheimer disease. Tests can determine which gene is at fauly . There are also cases of eFAD that cannot be linked to one of these three genes. There may be additional genes waiting to be discovered, if only researchers could connect with more eFAD families.

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    How Common Is Early Onset Familial Alzheimer Disease?

    For practical and research purposes, doctors and scientists need defined populations for study and the numbers change based on the definitions. The definition would seem to rest on two criteria:

    Early onset sporadic Late-onset sporadic

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    An Alzheimers Disease Diagnosis

    Its so uncomfortable because most people dont want to think about what it would feel like to have Alzheimers. Its kind of terrifying.

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    An early and accurate medical diagnosis is crucial as it can give you or your loved one time to plan for the future. Generally, medication can help people in the earlier stages of Alzheimers control some of their symptoms for a while.

    There are three types of Alzheimers:

    Early-onset Alzheimers:

    It can affect people in their 40s or 50s. Its rare, so only up to 5% of all people with Alzheimers are affected at such a young age. The early-onset form also appears to be linked with a defect in a specific part of a persons DNA: chromosome 14.

    Late-onset Alzheimers:

    It can affect people aged 65 and older. It may or may not have a genetic cause. So far, researchers havent found a particular gene that causes it.

    Familial Alzheimers

    Familial Alzheimers is when doctors know for sure its linked to genes. In families that are affected, members of at least two generations have had the disease. This form makes up less than 1% of all cases of Alzheimers and most people who have early-onset Alzheimers fall into this category.

    Improving Quality Of Life

    Dealing with Early Onset Alzheimer’s

    In the early stages of Alzheimers disease, cognitive impairment is not the only determinant of quality of life. While you cant change factors such as age at diagnosis or gender, research shows that the care that a person receives impacts life expectancy. Be sure that you explore options when it comes to creating a care plan for a loved one diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and take advantage of any support groups or other resources that may help.

    Recent research indicates that factors associated with a lower quality of life for Alzheimers disease patients include patient depression and anxiety, and having to take multiple medicinesindicative of having other disease states to manage. Efforts to improve the quality of life for patients should include an assessment of these factors so they can be effectively addressed. Caregiver quality of life should also be assessed, especially as the disease progresses and the burden of caregiving increases.

    The extent to which a person with the disease can maintain his or her social relationships can also play a large role. Patients should talk with their doctor or a psychologist for strategies to cope with social situations.

    In addition, maintaining household responsibilities for as long as able can help improve the quality of life. In later stages, a patients needs may change, and it is important for a caregiver to know how to care for themselves in addition to their loved one.

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    Frequently Misplacing Items And Not Being Able To Retrace Steps

    Most people will lose items at some time, but they are usually able to locate them again by searching in logical locations and retracing their steps.

    However, someone with Alzheimers disease may forget where they placed an item, especially if they put it in an unusual place. They may also be unable to retrace their steps to find the missing item. This can be distressing and may cause the person to believe that someone is stealing from them.


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