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Middle-Age Memory Loss Linked With Parental Dementia

People who have parents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia may be more likely to have memory loss themselves in middle age.

In an ongoing investigation, researchers used the Framingham Heart Study to follow three generations of participants to study risk factors of Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

A total of 715 people belonging to the second generation of the Framingham Heart Study with an average age of 59 were included in the research. One group of 282 people had one or both parents with diagnosed dementia.

The other group of 433 people had parents without dementia. Scientists tested for a gene thought to be a strong risk factor for dementia, called the ApoEe4 gene.

Among people who were carriers of the ApoEe4 gene, those who had parents with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia had two to three times the risk of having low verbal and visual memory performances than people who did not have parents with Alzheimer’s disease.

“This result in people with parents who have Alzheimer’s disease is equivalent to about 15 years of brain aging,” said study author Stephanie Debette, MD, Ph.D, of Boston University and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

“The effect was largely limited to those who have the ApoEe4 gene, which supports the idea that the gene is probably at least partially responsible for the transmission of Alzheimer’s disease risk between generations.

“However, all of these individuals were functioning normally, and only further testing can determine whether the poorer performance on memory testing in middle age would lead to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia later in life.”

The study was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Source: American Academy of Neurology

Middle-Age Memory Loss Linked With Parental Dementia

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Middle-Age Memory Loss Linked With Parental Dementia. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 17, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/02/19/middle-age-memory-loss-linked-with-parental-dementia/4223.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.