Is Alzheimer genetic? Important Guide 2022
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Is Alzheimer genetic? Important Guide 2022
Alzheimer’s is a progressing neurological disease that mainly affects how the brain functions. Performing daily activities like going to work, following a simple task, remembering things, and even communicating with peers becomes very difficult. The reason lies behind the progressive damage dealt with the brain, which declines cognitive abilities. In severe cases, the affected cannot survive independently, and a special arrangement for adequate care is necessary.
Alzheimer’s disease can develop in anyone who may or may not have a family history of the disease. The question being that Is Alzheimer genetic comes into the mind of most of us. Recent scientific research on the link between genes and Alzheimer’s disease shows that a person having a family member with the condition is more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. It is essential to understand that having a family member with Alzheimer’s does not mean you or another family member will succumb to the disease.
Before exploring more on Alzheimer’s and genetics, let’s quickly look into the basic concept of genes. Generally, genes contain all the information regarding the processes vital for the functioning of the cells. Genes are transferred from parents to siblings, and any mutation might result in a disease or a medical condition.
For instance, if a person inherits a genetic mutation from their parents, eventually they will develop that specific disease. Some notable examples of such modifications include early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, thalassemia, Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and sickle cell anemia. Moreover, slight differences in genes are called genetic variants, which may increase or decrease disease development risk.
To answer the question is Alzheimer genetic, let’s dig in deep and unwind the genetic components of early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease
This type of Alzheimer’s disease accounts for ten percent of the reported Alzheimer’s cases. The age at which early-onset Alzheimer’s develops ranges between thirty to sixty. Three genes are identified which are responsible for this early-onset Alzheimer’s.
- Presenilin 1 on chromosome 4.
- Presenilin 2 on chromosome 1.
- Amyloid precursor protein on chromosome 21.
As the disease progresses, brain-damaging proteins are produced that slowly destroy cells one by one. One more point on the question that is Alzheimer genetic is that mutations eventually result in the breakdown of an amyloid precursor protein, which deposits in the brain in the form of amyloid plaques.
If a child has one of their parents carrying any of the three genes, the chances of inheriting a mutation become 50/50. There is genetic involvement in early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Further studies and research is being carried out to bring more clarity to the genetic risk variants.
Down’s syndrome is a neurological disorder that occurs due to gene mutations. With this syndrome, the risk of developing early-onset Alzheimer’s at 50 to 60 becomes high. Recent research has shown that people affected with down’s syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21 carrying the APP gene. This is another answer to the question that is Alzheimer genetic.
Late-onset Alzheimer’s disease
The occurrence of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is more than early-onset. The symptoms of this type manifest around the age of 60. Apolipoprotein (APOE) is the genetic variant responsible for late-onset Alzheimer’s. APOE helps make a protein used to carry fat substances in the bloodstream. This APOE gene has various forms, and everyone has at least two types inherited from both parents. Below are the different alleles or arrangements of the APOE gene found in the human body.
- APOE ε2: This gene is rarely identified to trigger late-onset Alzheimer’s.
- APOE ε3: The most common form/allele that neither causes the disease nor prevents it.
- APOE ε4: Responsible for causing Alzheimer’s disease, thus labeled as a risk-factor gene.
The question that is Alzheimer genetic can be valid for late-onset Alzheimer’s because of the involvement of the APOE gene present on chromosome 19. However, carrying a mutated gene does not always mean that the relevant disease’s development is evident.
Genetic testing and Alzheimer’s disease
To identify an APOE gene defect, a blood test can be carried out. This test is usually conducted for research purposes, where it helps better evaluate the participants. Other genetic testing methods are available and utilized by healthcare professionals to identify late-onset and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Your doctor or a genetic counselor can help you sort out which tests can be carried out or what do the test results mean.
Research for Alzheimer’s disease is crucial as still the causes and the possible treatments need to be identified. Furthermore, understanding the link of Alzheimer’s and genetic mutations can facilitate researchers and scientists to:
- Gather specific information on the spread of the disease and categorize each step of the disease progression.
- Analyze how the risk factors or environmental factors interact with the genetic risk-factors. With this information, novel treatments are based, or an existing form of treatment is revised for better effectiveness.
- Having insights on the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease according to ethnicity, age, and gender.
- Guidelines for the prevention and management of Alzheimer’s disease are based on relevant information.
We have looked into all the relevant information that answers the question that is Alzheimer genetic. Early-onset and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease can both be caused by defective genes inherited from the parents. Moreover, an environmental or a risk factor may trigger a gene mutation, resulting in Alzheimer as mentioned earlier’s types. Coping up with Alzheimer’s disease is a difficult journey for the affected and the family and loved ones. Always keep an eye out if you feel a loved one is experiencing Alzheimer’s disease symptoms and immediately consult a healthcare professional for appropriate testing, diagnosis, and treatments, which will benefit the affected in the long run.
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