Study Shows Double the Number of Alzheimer’s Risk Genes

A groundbreaking new study shows that over 20 genes are involved with the development of Alzheimer’s disease. This is the largest study ever conducted on the genetics of Alzheimer’s and is paving the way for new treatments and prevention methods.Study Shows Double the Number of Alzheimer's Risk Genes

11 New “Risk Genes”

The newest and largest genetic study of Alzheimer’s was published in Nature Genetics on October 27 and shows eleven new genes associated with the disorder. The study showed that at least 20 genes play some role in the development of the disease, which is more than double the number of genes previously implicated.

What The Pasteur Institute Found

An international research team, led by Philippe Amouyel at the Pasteur Institute in Lille assembled genetic information from over 74,000 participants from 15 countries, some participants had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and others had not. Of those who had Alzheimer’s, researchers found regions of DNA that were more common in people who had the most common form of Alzheimer’s, late-onset Alzheimer’s. The study brings the total list of known gene variants to 22.

Next Steps in The Study

Being able to identify the genes that cause Alzheimer’s opens up new treatment options and even prevention methods. One of the newly discovered genes is a risk-raising gene, so that those who have the gene are at a greater risk of developing multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease. This helps scientists understand the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s and might help lead to new prevention methods.

The newly identified genes will also allow the development of new drugs to be specifically targeted at those genes, ultimately making drugs more effective.

Would you undergo genetic testing to determine your risk for Alzheimer’s? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below: 

Please leave your thoughts and comments

  • Ann

    My beloved mother died from this disease 12 days ago on Christmas Day, 2013. She suffered for over 10 years and, in the last 3 years, her every need was taken care of by my devoted father…..dressing, bathing, feeding, everything. My family was lucky enough to be able to keep her in her own home with minimal nursing assistance.
    Having watched my mother deteriorate like this, I’m not sure I’d want to know that if I am predisposed. I think it would make me too anxious about the future. Unless the testing is done in my left arm and the cure can be put into my right arm, I’m not certain I could handle the news that I too might be trapped inside a body & brain that is failing me. I would not want to live like that……sitting around waiting for a cure while bits of my personality and dignity leave me.
    So tremendously sad. Thank you to all who are working on a cure for this devastating disease!!!

    • Mimi Allen Black

      It probably is best to face the future as an informed and prepared woman who understands both the disease and the vulnerability so one can prepare. Right?

    • Summer

      I am sorry for your loss. Bless your Dad for taking care of your mother.

  • Chris

    Knowledge is power. My mother has Alzheimer’s disease and has been in the nursing home for three years. I did the DNA testing at 23andMe to find out my chances, they say 40%. Now I follow Dr. Perlmutter’s brain diet, avoid sugar and carbs most of the time, drink coffee every day with coconut oil. Anything that will feed my brain. Knowing the odds motivates me to stay on it.

  • Karla Davie

    I would get tested so that if I have a high genetic risk for Alzheimers I could get my affairs in order and make arrangements for my future care in the hope of easing the burden on my children. My mother died in January of this year after a prolonged bout with Alzheimers. She resided with my sister and her husband from the onset of symptoms until her death. While my sister is at peace because of the care she was able to provide, taking care of mom placed a tremendous strain on her marriage and family. I would not want to put my children through that strain. I would hope an early diagnosis would give me the opportunity to plan alternative arrangements for my care.

  • Pam

    Both my parents have Alzheimer’s I would like to be tested so if so do have the gene I can start treatment and get in some trials.

  • Denise Safford

    Both parents have dementia, and father is currently dieing:( I need to know if I will suffer the same fate.

  • Patti

    Yes I would like to know if that was my future. I had 2 aunts on my fathers side who have died with severe symptoms of Alzheimer’s. One actually forgot how to walk and talk. It was tragic. I think it is very important research so that we can eliminate for maybe our kids or at least theirs. I think if you know what to expect you can better prepare yourself and your family. It may help them understand why it is so important for us to do some things we really wanted to accomplish. Be it travel or a hobby or volunteer work, renew your faith or just dance like there’s no one watching, I’m 65 and married to a man not yet 60. He is still a work aholic and probably won’t slow down till after his 70’s. I’m already feeling the need to travel while I still can. I wish I could explain it to him if that is my future. I’m really surprised at the advances made in the last couple of years. Now of course we need to find out how these markers form and how we can prevent them. Very important and encouraging. I will sign up for genetic testing and participate in trials even tho part of me just wants to close my eyes and mind to the possibility. I’m not sure how I would handle the news but hopefully with a plan on how to make it easier for everyone, especially ME, if truth be known. But of course I may not even know what’s up and the caregivers ( I wish I had had more kids!)
    would have some lucid instructions from me and an understanding of what to expect and how to cope. Brevity is usually my strong suit. I hope you will indulge me here. Thanks for the opportunity to do some introspective thinking.

  • SB

    Yes, I would like to know..both my parents, Dad with Alzheimer’s and my Moms whole family had dementia at least I could prepare for the future.

About The Author

Profile photo of Alissa Sauer