cwicker wrote:Depressing study for me. Just lost my mom to Alzheimer's last week. Father has Alzheimer's, as did my grandmother and my only uncle and aunt. Looking for some hope in all this.
I'm so sorry for your loss of my mother--first to AD and then to death, cwicker.
Here's some hope for you, from the authors of the study:
Arguably, those with a family history of AD among FDRs may already be engaged in lifestyle changes to reduce their personal risk by reducing or managing conditions with known associations with AD such as cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and others. Collectively, the effect of reducing modifiable risk factors on AD risk is estimated at 33%,39,40 and promising results of lifestyle changes on cognitive decline in older adults have been reported from the multidomain lifestyle intervention study (Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability [FINGER]).
The study did not have ApoE 4 as a variable to look at risk. Mormon families in Utah typically are large, which allowed the study authors to look for people with records on 12 out of at least 14 relatives' death certificates (!) So it's possible that what is being found is the effect of large families of the WWII generation, all of whom shared lifestyle risk factors (not smoking or drinking among Mormons!) as well as genetic risk factors.
My mother was the youngest of 5 sisters who developed dementia in their 70's to late 80's. All had high blood pressure; most had actual cardiac disease. Only my mother had an education past 8th grade. Many had diets high in carbohydrates, even without being overweight. Yet I still only have 50% of my genes from her and have normal blood pressure and zero coronary plaque. None of my 20 female cousins, many of them into their early 70's, has any sign of heart disease or MCI. So lifestyle and cognitive reserve makes those Utah ancestry records interesting, but far from a fate sealed at birth.
Here's the link to the whole study. The charts don't look so scary when studied, in my novice view.https://n.neurology.org/content/neurology/early/2019/03/13/WNL.0000000000007231.full.pdf