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Is Alzheimer's inherited from mother or father?

Inheriting the Apolipoprotein E (APOE-e4) from the mother or father creates a genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Meaning that the protein increases the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s, but does not directly cause it. Receiving two copies of APOE-e4, one from the father and one from the mother, increases the risk additionally. Genetic testing is required to have certainty.

Witnessing a beloved person, like a grandparent, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease throws oneself in a tight stop.

Am I at risk of developing it, too?

A genetic test can give the first prognosis.

However, even if one has two copies of APOE-e4 it still does not guarantee to develop the disease.

There are other risk factors like described in “What happens if Alzheimer’s is not treated?” that matter too.

However, in this article, I will describe what’s behind the curtain of genetics.

Table of Content
What are genes anyway?
What genes are linked to Alzheimer’s?
List of Resources
About the Author

What are genes anyway?

Genes carry information like one’s eye color and height. Together they build segments of chromosomes. Thousands of genes are in each chromosome. Packing all chromosomes together results in DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is represented in each human cell, giving each cell a job to do.

Parents pass their genes down to their biological children.

Genes are important for keeping one’s body cells healthy, too.

Problems with genes can cause disease. Such a disease could be Alzheimer’s or Down’s syndrome.

What genes are linked to Alzheimer’s?

Two types of genes can influence whether someone develops Alzheimer’s disease: (1) risk genes and (2) deterministic genes. APOE-e4 was identified as the first risk gene. It still has the most impact on risk. Besides, single-gene mutations are associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s, including (1) Amyloid precursor protein (APP) on chromosome 21, (2) Presenilin 1 (PSEN1) on chromosome 14, and (3) Presenilin 2 (PSEN2) on chromosome 1.

As mentioned above, risk genes may increase the risk of developing the disease, however, there is no guarantee it will happen.

Much research is needed to make clear statements about what gene causes the disease.

What is know is that APOE-e4 increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

It is also linked to early-onset Alzheimer’s.

Inheriting two copies of APOE-e4 increases the risk, additionally.

Remember this

According to the National Institute on Ageing, About 25 percent of people carry one copy of APOE-e4, and 2 to 3 percent carry two copies.

Early-onset Alzheimer’s disease represents the minority of all people with Alzheimer’s.

In my “All you need to know about Alzheimer’s” guide, I explain thoroughly what it is and what symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s are typical.

However, there are three single-gene mutations associated with early-onset Alzheimer’s, including amyloid precursor protein, presenilin 1, and presenilin 2.

Mutations of these genes increase amyloid plaques, which are partially responsible for Alzheimer’s.

You may participate in research trials to get tested for APOE alleles.

A blood test will be administered and show how many copies of APOE-e4 you have.

Besides, they usually check for single-gene mutations, too.

So there you have it. Participating in a study can be beneficial not only for science but for you, too.

List of Resources

Patric Pförtner

B. Sc. Psychology

Hi, my name is Patric Pfoertner and I graduated 2020 from the NBU. Currently, I work and study in Germany. My specialisations are Cognitive Psychology paired with a good slack of Clinical Psychology. Just this year I started publishing my research in the CBB Journal. Feel free to read about it at ResearchGate. Otherwise, click the other button to read my full CV.

About Author ResearchGate

P.S.: I am available for psychological consultation, too.