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Alzheimer's Myth-Busting: Genes, Berries, and Fish Oil
Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:32 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From the Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: Alzheimer's Association - New York City Chapter) - When it comes to evaluating risk for developing a disease, there are factors that we can control and others with which we are simply born. When a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, many people become worried they will also inevitably fall victim to the disease because of their genes.

Fortunately, our genes have a much smaller role to play in this disease than is widely assumed. Genetic factors only play a strong role in less than 5% of all Alzheimer's cases where the inheritance among family members is extremely high. These families suffer from "Familial" Alzheimer's disease and you likely already know if you are in one of these families because there are only a few hundred in the world.

For the rest of us, we are at risk for what's called late-onset or "sporadic" Alzheimer's disease, where the greatest risk factor is increasing age. Now this does not mean that genes and family history have absolutely no role in sporadic Alzheimer's, it's just that their contribution is much smaller. Thus, as is the case with many other late-onset disorders, an individual's specific lifetime risk for Alzheimer's is determined by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, not a single determinant or gene. What this means is that even a woman whose father has Alzheimer's has a greater than 80% chance of never developing the disease. While those odds may not sound great to many, they are very far from a predestined fate of Alzheimer's.

Whether it's a friend giving you advice or a story you read in the newspaper, it is important to fact-check information about Alzheimer's disease. Myths such as, "genes are the most important factor" or "eating berries will protect you," are easily dismantled with a little bit of research.

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Posted: Friday, January 27, 2012 8:42 PM
Joined: 12/16/2011
Posts: 122

Omg Miriam, THANK YOU!