Wednesday, March 12, 2008

175 2 parents with AD= bad news

I'm not sure why this is such a startling find. If both your parents have Alzheimer's, your risk of getting it goes way up. To me, this is a no-brainer. I thought it was generally accepted that there was some sort of genetic component.
If both your parents have Alzheimer's disease, you probably are more much likely than other people to get it....
42% of children of dual-AD parents who had reached age 70 had been diagnosed with AD as part of this study, "greater than you would expect in the general population in that age group". But it doesn't saw WHAT you should expect.
In the general population, risk for the disease begins to rise at about age 65, with the number of people developing the disease doubling every five years beyond that....
(There is a) roughly one in 10 chance that the average person will develop the disease.
But is that 10% chance at age 65, doubling every five years? Or is that over a lifetime? This article is very poorly written.
To those of us with Alzheimer's parents or loved ones, I don't think any of this comes as a surprise.


e said...

Nope, not surprising at all. I can see quite clearly now what my "memory lapses" over the past few years have been pointing to. And I was not even aware that my mom had any kind of issue with her memory until 2 years ago.

Hopefully my dad's genes of high cholesterol and heart disease will take me first (Though he did live to 2 months shy of 80 and was sharp as a tack until the day he died) or those will be some GOLDEN years!

Patty McNally Doherty said...

Hi Bert,

Statistically speaking, fifty percent of people who live to be 85 will have Alzheimer's.

Seems it's inevitable - when you look at your spouse - that one of you will be forgetting the other. Something to think about when you're building your life of memories together. One will wind up with all of them.

At some point, statistically speaking, there has GOT to be some good news about this disease. And so I plug along, throwing as much money as I can raise, directly at the disease, waiting for it to cry uncle.

I'm not giving up. I'm 51. I have 19 years to go until I'm the age my father was when he was diagnosed. That may seem like a long time, but in "lab" years, it's a blink of an eye. It takes years and years to bring a drug to market, we've got a long way to go with this disease. Wait til the boomers start falling, it's going to be a catastrophe - medically, financially, and emotionally. So. Donate to your local Alzheimer's researcher, feed their labs, keep their bunson burners lit, for as long as you can remember.

Glad you're keeping your blog rolling. I love the way you write.


Anonymous said...

Hi Bert,

I agree with you - this isn't a surprise. And a lot of us, me included, reckon time the way Patty does - how many years do I have until I'm like my parent was.

But maybe this is a good thing for those of us muddling along in mid-life. Could facing memory loss and mortality force us to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives? Can it make us better/nicer people? Can it actually make us happier? I'm starting to think this is so, but will reserve judgement on my own case!

The Tangled Neuron

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

This may be helpful - you do not need to have your genes turned on.
From Dr

What is the ApoE gene? I hear it predicts Alzheimer's disease and heart disease. I have a family history of both. Should I be tested?

ApoE is short for apolipoprotein E. The ApoE gene provides the instructions for making this protein, which is responsible for transporting cholesterol through the bloodstream. There are at least three different versions of the gene: ApoE2, 3 and 4. But since you receive a version (allele) of the gene from each of your parents, your own version could be a combination of a 2 and a 3 (2/3 or E2/E3) or a 2 and a 4 (2/4 or E2/E4) and so on.

Having two copies of ApoE2 seems to increase the risk of premature vascular disease, while having one or two copies of ApoE4 is associated with an increased risk of late-onset Alzheimer's. Most people, about 62 percent of the U.S. population, carry ApoE3 genotype, which tells you nothing about your risk of either disease. That doesn't mean that you're safe - just that if you do get either disease, something other than your ApoE gene may be to blame.

ApoE genotyping is available. All that's required is having some blood drawn (no fasting beforehand is needed). But the test results won't tell you for sure that you will or won't get either disease or even the extent of your risk. You could have ApoE 2/2, signifying a higher than normal risk of premature vascular disease, but never develop it. Or you could develop the disease and not have the ApoE 2/2 alleles. Similarly, you could have ApoE4 alleles, indicating a higher risk of late onset Alzheimer's and never get the disease. With all these diseases, ApoE is not the only influence at work.

Physicians may recommend ApoE genotyping to see if there's a genetic component to a cholesterol or triglyceride problem that hasn't responded to treatment. The test is sometimes used to help in diagnosis of late-onset Alzheimer's - it may show that the high-risk alleles are present in someone with dementia, strengthening medical suspicion that Alzheimer's is the problem. But these results alone are never diagnostic of the disease.

If you are tested and found to have an allele that indicates a high risk of Alzheimer's or heart disease, you may be able to change your odds through diet. Pamela McDonald, WHCNP, FA, FNP, an integrated nurse practitioner in San Francisco and a graduate of my Program in Integrative Medicine, has had success in reducing symptoms, like high cholesterol, by matching diet to a person's specific allele. Her book, The Apo E Gene Diet: A Breakthrough in Changing Cholesterol, Weight, Heart and Alzheimer's Disease Using the Body's Own Genes, describes nutritional plans for each ApoE genotype. I recommend it.

Anonymous said...


Even if a diagnosis has been made you can still make change.
I am seeing change in clinical practice.

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE does not have to happen.

Consider an integrative medicine ALZHEIMER'S Solution.

Preventing Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Chronic Illness one patient at a time.

"The Apo E Gene Diet: A Breakthrough in Changing Cholesterol, Weight, Heart and Alzheimer's Disease Using the Body's Own Genes, describes nutritional plans for each ApoE genotype. I recommend it."
Dr. Andrew Weil

"This book represents the future of medicine, an individualized, personalized approach that honors our genetic uniqueness. Pamela McDonald brings together a complete health program that honors all we are - body, mind, and spirit."
Larry Dossey, MD
Author, The Extraordinary Healing Power of Ordinary Things