Genes And Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia is caused when blood flow to the brain is reduced, damaging nerve cells. This can happen as a result of a stroke or damage to blood vessels deep in the brain. The majority of cases of vascular dementia are not caused by faulty genes.
We may carry genes that affect our risk of stroke, heart disease or other diseases that may contribute to vascular dementia. However, lifestyle factors such as smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, drinking alcohol over the recommended limits, and an unbalanced diet can also affect our risk.
There are rare genetic disorders that can cause vascular dementia by damaging blood vessels in the brain. One is called CADASIL and can be passed down through families. CADASIL only affects around 1,000 people in the UK.
Huntingtons Disease And Other Repeat Expansion Disorders
The most common of the nine known polyglutamine disorders, Huntingtons disease is a dominantly inherited disorder characterized by the clinical triad of progressive cognitive impairment culminating in dementia, psychiatric disturbance and motor manifestations, most notably chorea . The characteristic motor manifestations, a positive family history for similar disease, and caudate atrophy are among the strong clues that someone may have HD. In late onset HD due to sporadic or new mutations, however, there is no family history. Typically, when HD appears as a sporadic late-onset disorder, the motor manifestations including chorea are prominent enough that the neurologist is clued in to test for HD. The neurologist should also be clued into the possibility that a progressive dementing disorder accompanied by dyskinesias, in which the chronic use of antipsychotics may have led to an assumption that the movements represent tardive dyskinesia, could actually be HD. All patients with HD have a pathogenic CAG repeat expansion which can be assessed through a sensitive and highly specific gene test. Rare phenocopies of HD should be considered if the HD gene test proves to be negative.
Genes Associated With Genetic Ftd
- C9 mutations cause FTD, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or a combination of both conditions in a person.
- Whether a person will develop FTD or ALS or a combination cannot be predicted for healthy people at risk.
- C9 mutations are the most common cause of genetic FTD. They are also the most common cause of genetic ALS.
MAPT gene .
- MAPT mutations usually cause FTD .
- Sometimes MAPT mutations cause conditions associated with progressive supranuclear palsy or corticobasal degeneration pathology. People with these pathologies often have a type of movement disorder.
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Cause #: Mild Cognitive Impairment
People who already have mild cognitive impairment may be at an increased risk of developing full-blown Alzheimers. A mild cognitive impairment doesnt necessarily impact a persons daily life in a major way. However, it can have some effects on memory, thinking skills, visual perception, and the ability to make sound decisions.
Scientists are trying to understand why some cases of mild cognitive impairment progress into Alzheimers. A
Other Alzheimers Genes Identified
In the past few years, scientists have identified a number of other genes that are suspected of playing a role in the development of AD and other neurodegenerative disorders. These gene variants are linked to:
- the sortilin-related receptor 1 gene, which may be involved in the abnormal production of beta-amyloid plaque in the brains of people with late-onset Alzheimers disease
- the cell division cycle 2 gene , which has been associated with increased production of the tau protein and the protein ubiquilin-1, which controls the gathering, deposit
- and degradation of several proteins associated with Alzheimers disease and other dementias.
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Can Dementia Be Hereditary
I cannot remember my neighbors name, and the harder that I try to remember it, the further it seems to escape my mind. This is scary because the first thing that goes through my mind when things like this happen is dementia. I am growing older. Is it possible that I am following in my mothers footsteps with dementia?
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.
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Is Frontotemporal Dementia Hereditary
Researchers say heredity and family history play a role in up to half of cases of frontotemporal dementia , which affects speech, social behavior, and executive functioning more than memory. Scientists have identified five gene mutations that contribute to these types of dementia. Due to the genes involved and half of people whose parents have FTD will develop it as well. The Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco says that people with a family history of FTD may consider talking with a genetic counselor about genetic testing options, benefits, and potential downsides.
Although FTD isnt as widely known as Alzheimers, it actually affects more people than Alzheimers during middle age. Among the symptoms of FTD are behavior and personality changes like a sudden onset of apathy, new impulsive behavior including potentially inappropriate behavior, and compulsive behaviors such as hoarding. Another type of FTD has symptoms that include trouble finding words, speaking in a normal cadence, or new pronunciation difficulties. Muscle spasms and poor motor coordination can also be signs of FTD.
FTD is a gradual disease that worsens over the course of about 8 years, depending on the exact type. FTD isnt curable, but exercise, proper sleep habits, speech therapy, and psychiatric medications may help patients function better for a longer period of time.
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.
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Dementia And Down Syndrome
People with Down syndrome are born with an extra piece of DNA. This means they also have an extra copy of the APP gene. This leads to the build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain, which play a role in the development of Alzheimers disease. While not everyone with Down syndrome will go on to develop symptoms of Alzheimers, most people with the condition over the age of 40 will have amyloid build-up. It is estimated that about 50% of people with Down syndrome develop symptoms like memory loss, usually in their 50s and 60s.
To find out more about Down syndrome and dementia you can contact Downs Syndrome Association helpline on 0333 1212 300 or visit their website www.downs-syndrome.org.uk.
Rarer Types Of Dementia
Theres actually hundreds of different forms of dementia while the 5 named above are the most common, there are a number of rarer types you may have heard of too.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease This is one of the rarest forms of dementia. While it presents a lot of them same symptoms as common forms, it progresses far quicker, usually reaching the final stage within a year of diagnosis.
Huntingdons disease This is a genetic condition that can cause dementia typically leading to symptoms when people are in their 30s and 40s. The condition damages nerve cells in the brain which can cause symptoms such as the inability to focus, trouble with speech and language skills, difficulties swallowing, and tremors and muscle spasms.
Normal pressure hydrocephalus This is another condition that can cause dementia symptoms like poor balance, forgetfulness and erratic mood. It happens when too much fluid builds up in the brains ventricles putting pressure on the brain and damaging nearby brain tissue. Fluid build up can be caused by a traumatic brain injury, infection, brain disorders, and brain tumors.
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Is Dementia Hereditaryand Should You Be Tested
It is possible to request genetic testing to determine whether you have inherited some of the genes associated with AD or other dementias, but there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with undergoing this process.
Since testing for many of the genes associated with the most common forms of dementia cannot indicate definitively whether an individual will or will not develop a neurodegenerative disease, fears may be raised or eased in error.
Whats more, given the fact that there is currently no dementia cure available to halt or reverse the progression of most types of dementia, genetic testing may be unnecessarily distressing and ultimately pointless for many individuals. In the majority of cases, deciding to forgo testing and instead adopt lifestyle strategies that maximize physical and mental health may provide the best response to worries about inheriting dementia.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
WHAT IS DEMENTIA?
The AA also points out people often confuse dementia with the terms senility or senile dementia. The latter terms, the AA contends, reflect the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.
Physical exercise: Regular physical exercise may help lower the risk of some types of dementia. Evidence suggests exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
Originally published in 2016, this post is regularly updated.
Causes Of Alzheimers: Is It Hereditary
Increasing cases of Alzheimers disease
The Alzheimers Association states that Alzheimers disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and that more than 5 million Americans are affected by the condition. Additionally, one out of three seniors dies of Alzheimers or some other type of dementia. That number will likely increase as the aging population increases.
Scientists have been researching Alzheimers for decades, but still there is no cure. Learn more about how genes are related to the development of Alzheimers, as well as other potential causes of the condition.
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Genetic Causes Of Dementia
One rare form of Alzheimers disease is passed from generation to generation. This is called Familial Alzheimers disease . If a parent has a mutated gene that causes FAD, each child has a 50% chance of inheriting it. The presence of the gene means that the person will eventually develop Alzheimers disease, usually in their 40s or 50s. This form of Alzheimers disease affects an extremely small number of people probably no more than 100 at any given time among the whole population of Australia.
Three genes have been identified which, if mutated in certain ways, will cause FAD. These are called presenilin 1 , presenilin 2 and the amyloid precursor protein gene on chromosome 21.
What You Can Do To Help Forgetfulness
Momentary memory lapses can feel worrisome and frustrating, but forgetfulness and temporary gaps in memory are normal.
Forgetfulness is often a sign that we need to work on aspects of our lives that are important to our mental and physical well-being, such as adequate sleep, a balanced diet, a less hectic schedule, less alcohol use, or less stress.
Forgetfulness can be a sign of depression or anxiety. These are two common maladies that fog our memory banks. Depression and anxiety can be short-term, but when either is chronic or if it affects our daily functioning, we must seek help.
Self-care is a simple tool that can improve forgetfulness. This is especially important for caregivers, but even if you arent one, remember to Care for You First, and be aware of the symptoms that stress can trigger in your body .
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What Changes Can I Expect
- The first signs of young-onset dementia can be similar to those of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, although the sequence in which signs appear varies from person to person. Typical signs include:
- Personality changes, such as abruptness and insensitivity
- Frequent lapses of memory, particularly involving recent memories
- Forgetting appointments or the names of colleagues at work
- Unsettling moments of disorientation in previously familiar places
- Being unable to find the way home
- Becoming confused about familiar tasks such as handling money or placing a call
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Difficulty with voluntary movements or physical coordination
- Struggling to learn new things and adapting to changes at home or at work
- Losing interest in activities that were enjoyed previously
- Withdrawing from social contact
Causes Of Frontotemporal Dementia
This is an important cause of dementia in younger people. It’s most often diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65.
It’s caused by an abnormal clumping of proteins, including tau, in the frontal and temporal lobes at the front and sides of the brain.
The clumping of these proteins damages nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes, causing brain cells to die. This leads to shrinking of these areas of the brain.
Frontotemporal dementia is more likely to run in families than other, more common causes of dementia.
Read more about frontotemporal dementia.
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How Common Is Familial Alzheimer’s Disease
Familial Alzheimers disease is a type of Alzheimers that is caused by a single-gene change. It is very rare. Out of 100 people who have Alzheimers, less than 1 of those people will have it because of a single-gene change. 99 out of 100 people who have Alzheimers disease will have it because of genetic risk variants and non-genetic factors such as their lifestyle.
Among People Concerned About Their Cognitive Health Whose Family Members Have Alzheimers Disease Or Other Dementias One Question Is Of Overriding Concern: Is Dementia Hereditary
Is dementia hereditary? Your genetic background may be responsible for your propensity to inherit Alzheimers disease and other dementias. In fact, statistics suggest that genetic background is certainly a factorbut not the only factorin the risk for irreversible dementia.
Your genetic background is responsible, at least in part, for your propensity to inherit certain medical conditions, including Alzheimers disease and other dementias. The more family members you have who are affected by certain types of dementia, including Alzheimers, the greater your risk becomes. So, strictly speaking, is dementia hereditary?
Dementia statistics suggest that genetic background is certainly a factorbut not the only factorin the risk for irreversible dementia. For example, although risk for frontal lobe dementia is significantly increased among individuals who have relatives who have developed the disease, more than half of people diagnosed with this form of dementia do not have such a family history.
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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.
Is Dementia Passed On Through Our Dna
Medical research seems to suggest that it is very unlikely that dementia can be passed on through our DNA. But in rare cases, some diseases that lead to dementia can be passed on through our DNA. But it is still extremly rare that if a family member such as a parent or grandparent has developed one of the many different kinds of dementia, that their children will inherit the disease at some stage in their life.
This is not to say that somebody with Alzheimers cannot have not passed on the disease from parent to child. It is possible they could have. In some rare cases of Alzheimers, the disease can be inherited from a parent. But this is very rare.There is a group of four genes a person can carry that can lead to a greater risk of Alzheimers. With 3 of the four genes being responsible for early onset dementia in people in their 30s, 40s and 50s with the other gene being responsible for Alzheimers in older people, usually over 65 years of age.
In the majority of cases of Alzheimers the disease is mostly associated with old age. Most cases are diagnosed with people in their 70s and 80s which is often referred to as Senile dementia.
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