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Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Message Board
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:13 PM   #1
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Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

Not sure if this has been asked before. My mother (and some of her close family members) have had early onset of Alzheimer's Disease (avg age: 52).

Mom is now 66. Does not recognize her children and she does not speak (mumbles); she can walk with assistance from room to bathroom, etc. She can not bathe or feed herself. Has begun to get seizures.

Mom has four children who range from 30-43 yrs old. We were wondering if there were any studies or tests available to see if we were succeptible to early onset of Alzheimers. Tried internet with negative results (I'm problably not wording it correctly).

 
Old 02-05-2009, 03:49 AM   #2
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

Welcome to this Board. It sounds as if you are a member of New York's Finest .. if so I want to thank you, as a former resident of Astoria, for all that you do to keep the city safe. Especially on 9/11/01.

I think there is a genetic exam. But many of us who have lost loved ones through this disease do not want to know if we have the gene or not. It is too depressing, when there is as yet no cure. I am hoping that the new drug 'in the pipeline' is out within a couple of years. Then, once a cure is available, I will have myself tested.

Meanwhile it is good to live healthy, stay at a normal weight, exercise and think happy thoughts.

Love,
Martha

 
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:23 AM   #3
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

Also, Keep mentally active and alert. Do things like suduko or crossword puzzles, or other games that challenge you mentally. Anything that stimulates your brain will help keep this at bay.

Your Mom was awfully young to have gotten this horrid disease. I also lost my mother to it-so you have my sympathies.

 
Old 02-05-2009, 09:09 AM   #4
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

Thank you Martha. Yes you're correct ...17yrs...3 more to go. I know it's depressing thinking about getting AD but I do would like to know. All four of us, sisters and brother joke about my parents; that they should've talked about their medical history before having us. High Blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis...etc.. We all have something and we don't want to be the one to end up with AD. My older sister and younger brother are the primary caretakers and it's HARD. There's a guaranteed place in heaven for them for all they do. I'm just scared.

 
Old 02-05-2009, 09:12 AM   #5
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

IBake&Pray...well I pray too, but not bake..lol. I am a sudoku & crossword puzzle fanatic! I love puzzles and challenging word & number games. Thanks for the advice. My sympathies to you about your mother as well. I recently was diagnosed with chronic Lymes Disease..but before diagnosed I thought I was getting AD...with the fog in my head, forgetfulness, confussion & disorientation. I've since been treated and those symptoms went away but I was scared.

Last edited by Finest1104; 02-05-2009 at 09:15 AM. Reason: more to say

 
Old 02-05-2009, 01:11 PM   #6
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

We can understand the fear, especially in your family. But fight and stay active. That's the best defense you've got. I watched both of my parents die within 5 weeks of each other-and I am an only child. And I refuse to go like that. I'll be damned to do that to my children. But then, they say I'm too ornrey to die like that! LOL...

 
Old 02-05-2009, 02:57 PM   #7
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

i think i would like to find out if i have the gene. my mother and grandmother both have and had dementia. just to add to the list of things to do, im sure in your field you must work out. if not, that is quite important, also.

 
Old 02-05-2009, 03:59 PM   #8
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

From what I have found out there is a test for early onset familial ALZ. But only 2% of familial ALZ is early onset. The rest is late onset and there is no test for that. Then there is a whole range of dementias that have no obvious inherited link. So even if you had the test, you are only testing for a very small percentage of the change that you might get it.

There is a gene test called APOE that can detect genetic changes that are common in ALZ patient. If you have dementia they can use this to determin if it is ALZ but it is totally unreliable for predicting if a healthy individual will get ALZ. The changes are present in people that don't get ALZ and others that do get it do not have the changes. It would be devistating to get a positive result and then find out 20 years later that you are not going to get the disease.

The other worry I have is future health care and insurance. They are able to test for Huntington's Disease with relative accuracy. But once you get a positive result your ability to get insurance is greatly decreased and it seems to influence the medical treatment you receive as well. That is an "incurable" disease just as ALZ. With the current push to enlarge the national medical data base and give unlimited access to the information.... do you really want a positive genetic test for an incurable disease that you may or may not get on that data base?

Love, deb

 
Old 02-05-2009, 11:07 PM   #9
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

WOW Gabriel....You have a STRONG point! Have me thinking now. True about the life insurance. I do have some aside from work but if I wanted more it would be difficult. Thanks.

Last edited by Finest1104; 02-05-2009 at 11:08 PM. Reason: mistake

 
Old 02-06-2009, 08:16 AM   #10
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

It's not only the life insurance but all personal insurances including medical and disability. If they know you have a strong potential for a terminal disease, even if you are not symptomatic, they don't consider you a good risk because they are all betting on a healthy long old age. I had never thought of that angle until my friend considered being tested for Huntington's Disease. Her mom had it and she has a 50% chance of inheriting the diease. If she has it then her children have a 50% chance as well. In order to be tested for Huntington's you go through extensive psychotherapy sessions first and that is one of the concerns they presented. The false positives was another concern as well as the false negatives. It's not an exact science yet and labels in this society can be as crippling as the disease.

Love, deb

 
Old 02-06-2009, 10:59 AM   #11
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

When my brother and sister in law tried to get long term care insurance he was rejected because he was too healthy! They want people to pay in for a lifetime and go into care for only 2 months. He had the capacity to live to be 100; but maybe he would be in a NH for 10 years. No way - they rejected him. He put their house in a trust instead.

Love,

Martha

 
Old 02-07-2009, 05:39 AM   #12
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Re: Is there a test for Alzheimer's "gene"?

Martha,

Unbelievable........I've been thinking about a trust for us. My Grandma had one and as it turns out, it was invaluable for her. Our home is now paid for.....a goal set by my husband before he would retire early. Its one of those things we keep putting off. Thanks for the reminder to get moving and take care of us. I hope your brother does live to be 100. I don't think I could pass such a test. LOL

Love Chris

 
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