A new study reveals somber news for those who have two parents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Children of Alzheimer’s sufferers may show the early symptoms of the disease in the brain before experiencing any symptoms. What does this mean for children of Alzheimer’s victims?
Disturbing Facts for Children of Alzheimer’s Patients
A new study in Neurology shows that those who have two parents with Alzheimer’s may exhibit signs of the disease in the brain decades before symptoms appear. A research team at the New York University School of Medicine observed 52 dementia-free people between the ages of 32 and 72. Through MRI scans and PET scans, investigators found some disturbing facts that suggest a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s:
- Those participants whose mother and father both had Alzheimer’s disease showed 5-10% more brain plaques in specific brain regions than those who had healthy parents.
- When both parents had Alzheimer’s, the participant showed more severe brain abnormalities in volume and metabolism.
- Participants whose mothers had Alzheimer’s disease showed a higher level of biomarkers of Alzheimer’s than those whose fathers had Alzheimer’s.
While the study does not show exactly which genes are responsible for the early brain changes, researchers hope that their findings will be helpful to future investigations.
Hope for a New Generation
Although this news may at first be dispiriting to caregivers who have watched their parents suffer from the disease, it may also lead to new methods of detection and prevention. Dr. Lisa Mosconi from the New York University Langone Medical Center said, “Studies show that by the time people come in for a diagnosis, there may be a large amount of irreversible brain damage already present. This is why it is ideal that we find signs of the disease in high-risk people before symptoms occur.”
If patients and doctors know that a family history of Alzheimer’s can mean a higher risk for children, the disease is more likely to be found earlier.
Does Alzheimer’s run in your family? Would you want to know your chances of developing the disease?