Alzheimer's Gene Test

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December 6, 2013:
New test may show higher risk of Alzheimer's.

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Get DNA Testing for Alzheimer's Risk

Genetic risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

Genomics testing can reveal specific genes associated with the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Basically, there are certain genetic markers in your DNA that can show whether you have a higher than average chance of getting Alzheimer's disease as you age, though scientists caution that there are many factors in play, including environmental and genetic factors that may not yet be known. Additionally, new Alzheimer's tests may be the key to a treatment, since doctors now know which areas of the brain, and which systems, may be malfunctioning and creating the plaques that eventually destroy brain tissue and lead to death. Like any DNA test, it is important to remember that humans have genetic susceptibility to all kinds of issues from cancer to dementia, and the careful study of any one person's genome could give a hypochondriac nightmares, because everyone has genetic risks for something. What is more important is whether these genes get activated, or work with materials in the environment (or everyday life) that would make you more likely to get sick.

Note that many genomics testing companies, such as 23andme, have had to change their marketing and diagnosis practices because of federal regulations. For example, health analysis of DNA results may not be allowable without a doctor's opinion.

Notes and Special Information

Special note: Don't panic if the test comes back positive. Just having the genes is not a guarantee of getting Alzheimer's. And really, if you've got a bad case of Alzheimer's you will be the last one to know anyway.