Alzheimer’s is in the health news again. This time, scientists are honing in on the Alzheimer’s gene—or genes, as the case may be. Finding a genetic link to Alzheimer’s could help in the prevention of the mind-disrupting disease. To date, there has been no medical intervention that can stop Alzheimer’s from developing in those who are at risk.
Scientists have discovered that there is one common gene that’s associated with the onset of Alzheimer’s in those who are over 65: it’s called “apolipoprotein E e4,” or APOE e4 for short.
According to genetic researchers, having at least one APOE e4 gene increases your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. If you have two APOE e4 genes, your risk is even higher. Having said that, just because you have one or two APOE e4 genes, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get Alzheimer’s—not everyone who has these genes gets the disease.
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We are still some distance away from being able to predict the risk for Alzheimer’s with absolute certainty. But as scientists discover these genetic links, it could point toward a new era in Alzheimer’s prevention. A person may have the option of adopting a treatment before Alzheimer’s becomes full-blown, possibly staving off the disease altogether or at least drastically slowing its progression.
In the meantime, while genetic research continues, you can protect your mental health by eating lots of healthy brain foods every day.
Sources for Today’s Articles:
Is Alzheimer’s in Your Genes? You Might Be Surprised to Find Out
Bertram, L., et al., “The genetics of Alzheimer’s disease,” Prog Mol Biol Transl Sci. 2012; 107: 79–100.
Schellenberg, G.D., et al., “The genetics and neuropathology of Alzheimer’s disease,” Acta Neuropathol. September 2012; 124(3): 305–23.