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Cracks in the Plaques
Posted: Monday, February 6, 2012 3:19 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From the Alzheimer's Daily News: 

(Source: Scientific American) - This has been a big week in Alzheimer's news as scientists put together a clearer picture than ever before of how the disease affects the brain. Three recently published studies have detected the disease with new technologies, hinted at its prevalence, and described at last how it makes its lethal progress through the brain.

The existence of two forms of Alzheimer's - early- and late-onset - has long baffled scientists. Of the estimated five million Americans who suffer from Alzheimer's, only a few thousand are diagnosed with an early-onset form of the affliction, which affects people before the age of 65.

Early-onset Alzheimer's is thought to be hereditary and scientists have associated multiple genetic mutations contributing to its occurrence. Late-onset Alzheimer's, although more common, has been the bigger mystery. One variant of the APOE gene - sometimes known as the Alzheimer's gene - is linked to the late-onset disease. But the APOE gene, unlike dominant early-onset genes, does not determine whether a person will ultimately have dementia.

Now there's evidence that late-onset Alzheimer's has a genetic basis similar to that of early-onset Alzheimer's. By sequencing select genes associated with the latter, along with frontotemporal dementia, researchers at Washington University and other institutions found that patients with late-onset Alzheimer's carry some of the same genetic mutations as those with the early-onset form.

The evidence bolsters the argument that the forms of Alzheimer's that appear at different life stages should be classified as the same disease. As to why the disease appears earlier in some cases, the scientists speculated that those patients diagnosed relatively early in life carry more genetic risk factors for the disease.

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Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 9:26 PM
Joined: 12/5/2011
Posts: 795

Hi Myriam,


Thanks for sharing.  I am unable to read and process the article but that's for breaking some of it down.


My mother had late-onset AD but wasn't ever genetically tested.  I have EOAD and have the apoe4.


Is there higher risk for my daughter and granddaughter?


Peace and Hope,