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"Is Alzheimer's disease inherited?"


I never knew my dad, but my mom died of Alzheimer's several years ago, at age 78. What are the chances that I will develop Alzheimer's disease too? If I have kids, what are the chances that they will develop it?


Alzheimer's is a degenerative brain condition which is the leading cause of dementia in the world. The condition leads to the progressive loss of cognitive function coupled with the impairment of social functioning. There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease.

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The genetics of Alzheimer's disease are complicated. 99.9% of Alzheimer's disease are sporadic, meaning there is no strong inheritance pattern. However there are numerous genes which can be inherited which do increase the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. For example, inheritance of some variants of the apolipoprotein E gene are associated with increased risk of Alzheimer's. 0.1% of cases of Alzheimer's are directly inherited. These inherited forms of Alzheimer's usually lead to early onset Alzheimer's before 65 years of age. As always the diagnosis and the management of your particular concerns will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your primary care doctor if you think you are exhibiting any symptoms is highly recommended.

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