I have a question I was hoping someone could help with. I've been told that my father's alzheimer's condition is genetic. What does this mean for me, and any children i may have? Does anyone know how it's passed on?
Thanks in advance
It must be very worrying to be told that your father's dementia is genetic. It means that he carries a gene which makes him more likely to develop dementia. He may have passed the gene on, or he may not. Even if he has, there is no certainty that you will develop the disease.
It's a warning, really, to be careful with your diet and lifestyle. There is so much positive research going on that the chances are a cure will have been found, or even better, a method of prevention, long before you need to worry.
Thanks Hazel, that's really helpful. A healthy life it is then. Genetics testing looks expensive, timely, complicated, and ultimately futile. Maybe I'll look into alternative medicine for preventatives/decreasers...
Last night I went to a public seminar given by the Alzheimer's Research Trust and this question was discussed. I wouldn't attempt to even try and summarise it here as it was all very scientific, but they did mention things like APoE.
One of the things discussed was that it tends to be early onset dementia that is linked to genetic/hereditary AD. However, they said it was sometimes difficult to monitor because, if someone died in their fifties (say in a car accident) and then their relative went on to develop it. They wouldn't actually know whether the one in the car crash would have got it. Does that make sense? Particularly true where relatives are older and where it might not be possible to establish what they died of. They did mention three generations as being a possible measure. However, it all seems a bit woolly.
One thing that did come over was that lifestyle is an absolute factor. Some of the stats they showed indicated obesity as an indicator for developing some types of dementia in some cases. The message seemed to be, eat healthily, take plenty of exercise, keep blood pressure under control and alcohol intake to a minimum! Of course, it's all "some" and ifs and buts and maybes. Having spent some time on TP, there seems to be so many things that can be thrown into the mix.
Having read this it's not much help! I've just thought of something else, as well. There are ethical issues around genetic testing. For instance how it would affect people psychologically if they knew that 2 years down the line they would develop the illness?
Thanks guys, I'll check out everything you've said. Does anyone know where I can find info on the specific things that encourage dementia? You mention obesity (I was obese as a child/teenager/young adult) and alcohol (used to drink a lot). I'm assuming drugs are in the mix too (oops)... I'd like to find out more...
Thanks so much x
Thanks guys. It seems like common sense and general good health are the way forward... but my dad is the healthiest person i know, never drank or smoked, always been incredibly fit (fitter than me all my life, can still run faster than me at the age of 73) and he still got it in his 60s. I'm also looking at the links between heart disease and alz - a lot of my dad's brothers and sisters (there are 9 in total, irish catholics!) suffer from heart probs. Dad never had heart problems, but does have dementia. (I've edited this post because I regret saying it.) This whole situation makes me so angry and I hate that it does. Sorry.