Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
What Helps Calm Agitated Dementia Patients?AHA News: Growing – and Aging – Hispanic Population at Risk for DementiaAHA News: Yo-Yoing Blood Pressure Could Be Bad for Those With Alzheimer'sGive Seniors a Memory Check at Annual Checkups, Experts SayFor People at High Risk, Evidence That Exercise Might Slow Alzheimer'sDementia Caregivers Often Face Sleepless NightsHealth Tip: Dementia and DrivingGetting Hitched Might Lower Your Odds for DementiaHow You Can Help Head Off Alzheimer's DiseaseDeep Brain 'Zap' Restores Vivid Memories to Alzheimer's PatientsHow to Protect a Loved One With Dementia During a Heat WaveToo Much Napping May Signal Alzheimer'sDepression, Alzheimer's Might Be Part of Same Process in Some Aging Brains: StudyStay Social to Help Cut Your Odds of DementiaBlood Test May Spot Brain Changes of Early Alzheimer'sClues to Why Women Have Higher Odds for Alzheimer'sA New and Better Way to 'Stage' Alzheimer's Patients?At Risk for Alzheimer's? Exercise Might Help Keep It at BayHealthy Living Can Cut Odds for Alzheimer's in People at Genetic RiskHormone Treatment for Prostate Cancer Linked to Heightened Alzheimer's RiskAlzheimer's Genes Might Show Effects in Your 20sWidely Prescribed Class of Meds Might Raise Dementia RiskCancer Survivors May Have Lower Odds for DementiaCommon Blood Pressure Med Might Help Fight Alzheimer'sEducation, Intelligence Might Protect Your BrainFor Some, Trouble Tracking Finances Could Be Sign of DementiaIt's Never Too Late for New Brain CellsHigh LDL Cholesterol Tied to Early-Onset Alzheimer'sDoes Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Raise Dementia Risk?Could Alzheimer's Spread Like Infection Throughout the Brain?Newly Discovered Illness May Cause Nearly 1 in 5 Dementias, Experts SayFinancial Scammers Often Prey on People With Early DementiaMore Alzheimer's Drug Trial Failures: Are Researchers on the Wrong Track?Gum Disease Shows Possible Links to Alzheimer'sBrain Scans Spot, Track Alzheimer'sFewer Periods May Mean Higher Dementia RiskOnly Spoken Words Processed in Newly Discovered Brain RegionRate of U.S. Deaths Tied to Dementia Has More Than DoubledEven Distant Relatives' History Could Up Your Alzheimer's RiskDementia May Strike Differently, Depending on RaceHormone Therapy Linked to Slight Rise in Alzheimer's RiskSleep Apnea May Be Linked With Alzheimer's MarkerScientists Find 5 New Genes That Sway Alzheimer's RiskAre Hearing Loss, Mental Decline Related?Education No Match Against Alzheimer'sCould Gut Bacteria Be Linked to Dementia Risk?Plunging Temperatures a Threat to People With Alzheimer'sBlood Test Might Yield Early Warning of Alzheimer'sFrailty a Risk Factor for DementiaAHA: Blood Pressure May Explain Higher Dementia Risk in Blacks
Questions and AnswersVideosLinksBook Reviews
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

Even Distant Relatives' History Could Up Your Alzheimer's Risk

HealthDay News
by By Serena GordonHealthDay Reporter
Updated: Mar 13th 2019

new article illustration

WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A grandparent's mental decline or a great uncle's waning memory may indicate you, too, have greater risk for Alzheimer's disease -- especially if closer relatives have the condition, a new study says.

Alzheimer's in both a first-degree relative (parents, siblings) and a second-degree relative (grandparent, aunt, uncle, nieces or nephews) doubles your risk of the brain-destroying disorder, researchers found. But if you have one first-degree relative and two second-degree relatives with the disease, your risk increases by 21 times.

"Family history is a very powerful piece of information that can accurately predict someone's risk of Alzheimer's disease, and this study shows there are more people at risk than we know," said the study's lead author, Lisa Cannon-Albright. She's a professor of epidemiology at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

Family history is a known risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, a progressive disease that causes difficulty in thinking and memory. Previous research has focused on close family relations, the researchers noted.

The current study used a database that includes family records of Utah pioneers dating back to the 1800s. That information is also linked to health-related registries. The researchers were able to link information from the database with death certificates for more than 270,000 people.

In this group, almost 4,500 people had Alzheimer's disease when they died, the study team found.

Having one parent or sibling with Alzheimer's upped the risk of developing the disease by 73 percent. Two such first-degree relatives boosted the risk four times higher, the study said.

Having two second-degree relatives and no first-degree relatives raised the risk of Alzheimer's by 25 percent. Two third-degree relatives (great grandparents, great aunt or uncle) upped the odds of the memory-robbing disorder by 17 percent. And the more distant relatives that had the disease, the higher a person's risk.

When Alzheimer's occurred in close relatives and second-degree relatives, the risk jumped significantly.

The study authors acknowledged some limitations to the study. One is that Alzheimer's disease often isn't listed as a cause of death, so the prevalence of disease may be underestimated.

Rebecca Edelmayer is director of scientific engagement for the Alzheimer's Association. She pointed out that the study's population is unique, so the findings might not translate to a more diverse group of people.

"Family history is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease, so that finding is not unexpected. But this is an important study that adds to our information and really starts to look at the relative risk outside of the first-degree population," said Edelmayer, who wasn't involved in the research.

She said it's important for people to have a discussion about their family history with their doctor.

While you can't change your family history, Edelmayer said there are modifiable risk factors, too. Make sure you keep your brain active (cognitive stimulation), eat well and exercise regularly to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease, she suggested.

Cannon-Albright said that even if knowing your excess risk doesn't motivate you to make a change in your lifestyle, it's still good information to have.

"Family history information can identify who's high-risk and low-risk, and maybe a medical system could screen those at high risk more aggressively. The information could also be used in clinical trials to stratify groups by risk. There are lots of ways family history information can help," she said.

Edelmayer agreed.

"Understanding your medical history is an important thing. You should have conversations with your family and your physician about your family history," she recommended.

The study was published March 13 in Neurology.

More information

The Alzheimer's Association offers more about Alzheimer's disease risk factors.


Amazon Smile

To quit smoking, call Connecticut QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Children and Adult services are available now with no wait time.  Please contact HBH Intake Department at 860-548-0101, option 2.


powered by centersite dot net