Offspring of parents who both have Alzheimer's disease may be more likely to develop the illness

Mar 10, 2008

Adult-age offspring of parents who have both been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease appear to have an increased risk of developing the disease compared with the general population, according to a report in the March issue of Archives of Neurology.

“Alzheimer’s disease is a common cause of dementia in the U.S. population and the leading cause of cognitive impairment in the elderly population,” according to background information in the article. Identifying genes in Alzheimer’s disease patients can help detect others who are at risk for the condition. “Because Alzheimer’s disease is so common in the general population, it is not uncommon for both spouses to develop the disease. Offspring of two such affected individuals would presumably carry a higher burden of these Alzheimer’s disease-associated genes.”

Suman Jayadev, M.D., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues studied the frequency of Alzheimer’s disease in adult children of 111 families in which both parents had been clinically diagnosed with the disease. Ages at onset of dementia were also noted.

Of the 297 offspring who reached adulthood, 22.6 percent developed Alzheimer’s disease compared with an estimated 6 percent to 13 percent of the general population. The average age at onset for children of couples with the illness was 66.3. The risk of developing the disease increased with age with 31 percent of those older than age 60 affected and 41.8 percent of those older than age 70 affected. “Of the 240 unaffected individuals, 189 (78.8 percent) had not yet reached age 70 years, suggesting that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease (22.6 percent) is an underestimation of the final incidence rate of Alzheimer’s disease in this population,” the authors write.

Having additional family members with Alzheimer’s disease did not increase the risk of developing the disease, but was associated with a younger age at onset for those who did develop the illness. Children with no history of the disease beyond the parents had an older age at onset (72 years) compared with those who had one parent with family history of the disease (60 years) or both parents with family history of the illness (57 years).

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Microbiologists discover regulatory thermometer that controls cholera

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Research helps identify memory molecules

Sep 02, 2014

A newly discovered method of identifying the creation of proteins in the body could lead to new insights into how learning and memories are impaired in Alzheimer's disease.

Functional nerve cells from skin cells

May 21, 2014

A new method of generating mature nerve cells from skin cells could greatly enhance understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, and could accelerate the development of new drugs and stem cell-based regenerative ...

Amino acid fingerprints revealed in new study

Apr 06, 2014

Some three billion base pairs make up the human genome—the floor plan of life. In 2003, the Human Genome Project announced the successful decryption of this code, a tour de force that continues to supply ...

Recommended for you

Chikungunya fever identified in the United States

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Chikungunya fever is being seen in travelers returning to the United States from affected regions and should be considered as a diagnosis for febrile travelers, according to an ideas and opinions ...

Boost in quest for TB breath test

9 hours ago

A simple breath test may one day show whether someone has a strain of tuberculosis that will respond to a frontline antibiotic, or a drug-resistant type, scientists said Tuesday.

Three more dead from Legionnaire's disease in Spain

9 hours ago

Three more people have died from Legionnaire's disease in Catalonia in northeastern Spain, officials said Tuesday, bringing to seven the death toll from the lung infection in the region in just over a week.

User comments : 0