24-Hour Crisis Hotline: (877)SAFEGBC or (877)723-3422 Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues

6502 Nursery Drive, Suite 100
Victoria, TX 77904
Fax: (361)578-5500

Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Caring for Dementia Patient During Pandemic? Try These Stress-Busting TipsDirty Air Might Raise Your Odds for DementiaRecovery From Mild Brain Trauma Takes Longer Than Expected: StudyCould Sleep Apnea Put You at Risk for Alzheimer's?Daily Aspirin Won't Stop Dementia, Study FindsStudy Ties Brain Inflammation to Several Types of DementiaHeart Drug Combos Might Also Lower Your Dementia Risk: StudyU.S. Primary Care Docs Unprepared for Surge in Alzheimer's CasesMaria Shriver Sounds the Alarm on Women and Alzheimer'sTraumatic Brain Injuries Raise Risk of Psychiatric Ills in SoldiersGrowing Up in U.S. 'Stroke Belt' Bad for the Brain Later in LifeTwo Experimental Drugs Disappoint With Inherited Alzheimer'sGene Variant Ups Dementia Risk in Parkinson's Patients: StudyGene Variation May Protect Against Alzheimer's: StudyWhen Dementia Harms Speech, Native Language MattersEven 1 Night's Bad Sleep Can Raise Levels of a Brain 'Marker' for Alzheimer'sAHA News: Worried About Dementia? Check This Blood Pressure NumberStudy Might Point Alzheimer's Research in Whole New DirectionMore Doubt That Plaques in the Brain Cause Alzheimer'sObesity in Middle Age Could Raise Odds for Alzheimer's LaterCan Air Pollution Take a Toll on Your Memory?Animal Study Offers Hope for Treating Traumatic Brain InjuriesAlmost Half of Older Americans Fear Dementia, Try Untested Ways to Fight ItPeople Who Can't Read Face 2-3 Times Higher Dementia RiskEducation a Buffer Against Alzheimer's Among Blacks: StudyDown Syndrome Carries Raised Risk of Dementia by 55A Gene Kept One Woman From Developing Alzheimer's -- Could It Help Others?Number of Americans With Dementia Will Double by 2040: ReportIs Head Injury Causing Dementia? MRI Might ShowBanned Trans Fats Linked to Higher Dementia Risk: StudyFamily Can Help Keep Delirium at Bay After SurgeryPro Soccer Players More Likely to Develop Dementia: StudyDrug Limits Damage of Brain InjuryYour Personality as a Teen May Predict Your Risk of DementiaWhat Helps Calm Agitated Dementia Patients?AHA News: Growing – and Aging – Hispanic Population at Risk for DementiaAHA News: Yo-Yoing Blood Pressure Could Be Bad for Those With Alzheimer'sGive Seniors a Memory Check at Annual Checkups, Experts SayFor People at High Risk, Evidence That Exercise Might Slow Alzheimer'sDementia Caregivers Often Face Sleepless NightsHealth Tip: Dementia and DrivingGetting Hitched Might Lower Your Odds for DementiaHow You Can Help Head Off Alzheimer's DiseaseDeep Brain 'Zap' Restores Vivid Memories to Alzheimer's PatientsHow to Protect a Loved One With Dementia During a Heat WaveToo Much Napping May Signal Alzheimer'sDepression, Alzheimer's Might Be Part of Same Process in Some Aging Brains: StudyStay Social to Help Cut Your Odds of DementiaBlood Test May Spot Brain Changes of Early Alzheimer'sClues to Why Women Have Higher Odds for Alzheimer's
Questions and AnswersLinks
Related Topics

Alzheimer's Genes Might Show Effects in Your 20s

HealthDay News
by By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jun 27th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, June 27, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Every college student misplaces keys or forgets an appointment from time to time. Usually it's no big deal. But a new study warns that when young people with a family history of Alzheimer's disease have memory lapses, it could be an early sign of something serious.

That's the concern raised by a new memory test taken by nearly 60,000 men and women between the ages of 18 and 85.

The results revealed that participants between 18 and 65 who had family members with Alzheimer's scored lower than those who did not. That included even young adults in their 20s.

But, "no one should feel doomed to experience Alzheimer's, certainly not simply because your parents or grandparents were diagnosed with the disease," stressed study author Matt Huentelman. He is a professor of neurogenomics with TGen, a genetics research institute based in Phoenix.

Lots of non-inherited factors play a role in Alzheimer's risk, he explained. And, "there are many cases of people with family history and/or high genetic risk for Alzheimer's who live long lives without memory problems."

But there's no getting around the fact that roughly 75% of Alzheimer's risk is thought to be driven by genetics, said Huentelman. And the test does suggest that a young person's memory may be impacted by genetic risk "as many as four decades before the typical onset of Alzheimer's disease," he added.

The test results and analysis were published online recently in the journal eLife.

Huentelman and his colleagues pointed out that more than 5 million Americans now live with Alzheimer's. By 2050, that number is expected to nearly triple, approaching 14 million. The disorder is the leading cause of dementia, and has no known treatment or cure.

To get a better handle on how a family history of Alzheimer's might affect future risk, the team launched an online word memory test in 2013.

Called "MindCrowd," the launch got a big publicity boost from celebrities such as Lynda Carter, Valerie Bertinelli and Ashton Kutcher, who spread the word via social media.

By August 2018, nearly 60,000 people had signed up in all 50 states and across 150 countries. Most (92%) were white.

The analysis is based on that figure, although the ongoing project has now tested 116,000 recruits.

Test takers were shown 12 sets of two linked words. Afterwards just one word was randomly displayed, and everyone was asked to recall the missing word. The process was repeated three times.

In addition, participants provided information on their health and their family's health.

Nearly 5,000 participants who reported a family history of Alzheimer's also provided a blood or saliva sample. Samples were measured for levels of a particular protein (apolipoprotein E, or APOE) long associated with Alzheimer's risk.

In the end, the team found a clear link between having a family history of Alzheimer's and lower memory test scores.

However, "it is important to note that our test isn't a clinical diagnostic test for dementia," said Huentelman. "It isn't designed to diagnose Alzheimer's. It is also important to note that the differences we see are significant, yet subtle. So, they are unlikely to affect the daily living activities of any of these young individuals."

Still, the link is real, he said, and "we need to conduct research like ours to start trying new things to make headway towards treatments and cures."

Huentelman emphasized "that there are a few things we know that are good for the brain and can help reduce the risk of dementia."

He said those include exercising, getting good sleep, eating a nutritious diet, being socially active, and avoiding smoking and lifestyle choices that could lead to diabetes or heart disease.

Such prevention efforts were endorsed by Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach with the Alzheimer's Association.

But Fargo also advised against reading too much into the findings.

"While genetics certainly play a role in risk for Alzheimer's disease, there is not a single number that clinicians or researchers agree upon yet to describe the size of that role," he said. "The fact is that it is almost impossible to predict whether any particular individual will develop Alzheimer's or not."

More information

To learn more on how to prevent memory decline, visit the Alzheimer's Association.