Alzheimer's disease: epidemiology, genetics, and beyond

UMMS Affiliation

Meyers Primary Care Institute; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Clinical and Population Health Research Program

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Medical Subject Headings

Aged; Aged, 80 and over; Aging; Alzheimer Disease; Amyloid beta-Protein Precursor; Apolipoprotein E4; Genetic Predisposition to Disease; Genetic Screening; Humans; Mutation; Presenilins; Risk Factors


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is an increasing epidemic threatening public health. Both men and women are susceptible to the disease although women are at a slightly higher risk. The prevalence of AD rises exponentially in elderly people from 1% at age of 65 to approximately 40%-50% by the age of 95. While the cause of the disease has not been fully understood, genetics plays a role in the onset of the disease. Mutations in three genes (APP, PSEN1, and PSEN2) have been found to cause AD and APOE4 allele increases the risk of the disease. As human genomic research progresses, more genes have been identified and linked with AD. Genetic screening tests for persons at high risk of AD are currently available and may help them as well as their families better prepare for a later life with AD.

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Citation: Neurosci Bull. 2008 Apr;24(2):105-9.

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