Friday, March 21, 2008

Does your risk of Alzheimer's increase if one or both of your parents have Alzheimer's?

In a recent study published in the Archives of Neurology, researchers found that there was an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease if both parents had the disease.

The study actually involved one hundred and eleven couples, in which both individuals had Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers found that more than twenty-two percent of the adult children of these couples had Alzheimer’s disease, and that the risk increased with age. For instance, thirty percent of the children of these couples had Alzheimer’s disease at age sixty, and that number increased to forty-two percent by age seventy.

The National Institute on Aging and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs funded this study. The studies’ results were confirmed through autopsies, medical records, and examinations. The couples involved with this study had a total of nearly three hundred children, and of these children nearly seventy were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Most medical professionals would not be comfortable stating that a child of two parents with Alzheimer’s disease had a quadrupled risk of having the disease based upon the results of one study, however most would agree that an individual’s chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease is significantly increased if both parents are affected by the disease.

Hopefully, this study and others like it will shed some light upon the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, so that better treatment options will be available to individuals affected by Alzheimer’s disease in the future.

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