Chances are, you already know someone with Alzheimer’s disease (AD); currently, an estimated 5 million Americans have the disease.1 If you don’t already know someone, chances are you eventually will as our population ages; nearly 20% of people ages 75-84, and nearly half of people older than 85 years of age, have AD.2 Indeed, the scope of the problem is so large, with future projections so dire, that President Obama recently announced a National Plan to fight AD, with the ambitious goal of developing effective prevention and treatment approaches for AD and related dementias by 2025.3
An estimated 5 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease.
This leads to some natural questions: What is Alzheimer’s disease? What causes Alzheimer’s disease? What can genetics—the study of genes, which are the modules by which instructions for specific traits are transmitted from parents to offspring—tell us about Alzheimer’s disease, both at the level of understanding the disease and at the level of understanding our individual risk factors?
The Genetics of Alzheimer's Disease
National Institutes of Health Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
Published by the National Institute on Aging, this comprehensive fact sheet includes information on diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s, as well as ways to support families and caregivers.
Alzheimer’s Disease Overview: Mayo Clinic
Includes information on symptoms, tests and diagnoses, and treatment and support. Also provides an opportunity to subscribe to the FREE Mayo Clinic e-newsletter, Alzheimer’s Caregiving, to stay up to date on Alzheimer’s topics.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. The Alzheimer’s Association offers a variety of ways to get involved, including advocacy work, fundraising, and walks to raise awareness.
NIH/NIA Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials Referral Site
Use an interactive map to locate ongoing and upcoming Alzheimer’s disease and related clinical trials near you. See trials that are currently recruiting, search for trials by location, or sign up for free e-alerts.
National Institute of Aging. (2011). Alzheimer’s Disease Genetic Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/alzheimers-disease-genetics-fact-sheet
Evans D.A., Funkenstein H., Albert M.S., & et al. (1989). Prevalence of alzheimer’s disease in a community population of older persons: Higher than previously reported. JAMA, 262(18), 2551–2556. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430180093036
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), HHS press Office. (2012). Obama administration presents national plan to fight Alzheimer’s disease [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/05/20120515a.html
Alzheimer, A. (1907). Über eine eigenartige Erkrankung der Hirnrinde. Centralblatt fur Nervenheilkunde Psychiatrie 30, 177–179 (in German)
Maurer K., Volk, S., & Gerbaldo, H. (1997). Auguste D and Alzheimer’s disease. The Lancet, 349(9064), 1546–1549. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(96)10203-8
Kraepelin, E. (1910). Psychiatrie: Ein Lehrbuch für Studierende und Árzte, Barth, Leipzig, pp. 593–632
Dubois, B., Feldman, H. H., Jacova, C., & et al. (2007). Research criteria for the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: revising the NINCDS–ADRDA criteria. The Lancet Neurology, 6(8), 734–746. doi:10.1016/S1474-4422(07)70178-3
Alzheimer’s Association. (2013). What We Know Today About Alzheimer’s Disease. Retrieved from http://www.alz.org/research/science/alzheimers_disease_causes.asp
Liu, C.-C., Kanekiyo, T., Xu, H., & Bu, G. (2013). Apolipoprotein E and Alzheimer disease: risk, mechanisms and therapy. Nat Rev Neurol, 9(2), 106–118. doi:10.1038/nrneurol.2012.263
Morrison, P. J. (2010). Accurate prevalence and uptake of testing for Huntington’s disease. The Lancet Neurology, 9(12), 1147.
Wiggins, S., Whyte, P., Huggins, M., & et al. (1992). The Psychological Consequences of Predictive Testing for Huntington’s Disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 327(20), 1401–1405. doi:10.1056/NEJM199211123272001
Steinbart E.J., Smith C.O., Poorkaj P., & Bird T.D. (2001). Impact of DNA testing for early-onset familial alzheimer disease and frontotemporal dementia. Archives of Neurology, 58(11), 1828–1831. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.11.1828
Check, E. (2007). James Watson’s Genome Sequenced. Nature News. Retrieved from http://www.nature.com/news/2007/070528/full/news070528-10.html. doi:10.1038/news070528-10