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Is Alzheimer’s Prevention Possible or is the Disease a Genetic Time Bomb?

Posted by on Thursday, March 28th, 2013

One question many people have been asking for some time is whether Alzheimer’s disease is inherited from our parents or if we bring the disease upon ourselves through poor lifestyle choices.  This debate is currently raging in the medical science community as researchers scramble to solve one of today’s most pressing medical mysteries.   In other words; is Alzheimer’s prevention really possible?

Genetics and Alzheimer's prevention

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Alzheimer’s disease is an extremely complicated disorder and its cause is difficult to identify.  Researchers have vacillated between trying to prevent the disease with lifestyle and diet changes and pharmacology, all with mixed results.  Diet has continued to play a huge role in the recent research being done, but there have been some major strides in the genetic field that have indicated some probable genetic links.  According to recent research nearly 25 to 30 percent of those who have Alzheimer’s have a relative with dementia, but 70 to 75 percent have NO relatives with dementia.

Genetically speaking, all people get 46 chromosomes set up as 23 pairs.  Chromosomes are usually inherited one from each parent in each of the pairs. Within each of these chromosomes is the DNA in a double helix formation that carries all the necessary information, via genes, that will construct the proteins and genetic information that makes up the body.  As researchers examine the complexity in the study of genetic diseases, they are sometimes able to correlate a chromosome to a potential disease, such as Alzheimer’s. 


 Today researchers are focusing on a few specific chromosomes; 1, 14, 19 and 21. These chromosomes are showing the possibility of being the culprits in the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. The key focus for all this research is on the APOE genes that reside on the chromosomes. Researchers have discovered that the APOE gene is a risk factor for getting late onset Alzheimer’s disease. A high-density whole-genome association study reveals that APOE is the major susceptibility gene for sporadic late-onset Alzheimer’s disease  However, researchers are careful to differentiate between early onset and late onset Alzheimer’s disease. Early onset AD is extremely rare, but can be directly linked to family inheritance. 

While it is known that specific genetic mutations can greatly increase the odds of getting AD, having the mutated genes does not necessarily indicate the disease will surface. This has led researchers to look beyond the genetic puzzle and try to formulate a complete picture of the disease, and much of the research has been on diet and lifestyle.

Diet and Alzheimer’s Prevention 

Nutrition for Alzheime'r Prevention

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The focus on diet has led to some interesting discoveries, including cultural and geographic factors which seem to greatly influence the potential for getting Alzheimer’s disease. Where people live seems to help determine their likelihood of getting AD. The United States, for example, has one of the highest percentages of its elderly population with the disease, while other countries (such as India) seem to have a much lower rate.

Researchers are attributing these differences to the diets that are eaten in different countries. One way researchers established this correlation was by following certain ethnic groups in their native lands and in America, they discovered that while in America these ethnic groups were more prone to disease than they were in their native lands. Researchers are determining that diet is a basic defense against AD, both in avoiding certain foods that are high in fat, salt and high in refined sugar, while adding antioxidants and wild caught fish for healthy fatty acids and overall brain health. 

Alzheimer’s disease can be caused by genetic factors and is extremely strong in certain family groups, but science is also pointing to the fact that it is very likely influenced by diet and environmental factors. The research will need to continue to determine the specific genes that have the most influence and what can be done when it comes to Alzheimer’s prevention. It would seem that diet can also play a part in all of this, but how much influence it has over a genetic predisposition remains to be seen. To learn more about genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s as well as foods to eat and which ones to avoid, order your copy of the “The Alzheimer’s Diet” book written by Dr. Richard Isaacson today.








For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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