More evidence that Alzheimer's disease may be inherited from your mother

February 28, 2011

Results from a new study contribute to growing evidence that if one of your parents has Alzheimer's disease, the chances of inheriting it from your mother are higher than from your father. The study is published in the March 1, 2011, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"It is estimated that people who have first-degree relatives with Alzheimer's disease are four to 10 times more likely to develop the disease themselves compared to people with no family history," said study author Robyn Honea, DPhil, of the University of Kansas School of Medicine in Kansas City.

For the study, 53 dementia-free people age 60 and over were followed for two years. Eleven participants reported having a mother with Alzheimer's disease, 10 had a father with Alzheimer's disease and 32 had no history of the disease in their family. The groups were given and throughout the study.

The researchers found that people with a mother who had Alzheimer's disease had twice as much shrinkage as the groups who had a father or no parent with Alzheimer's disease. In addition, those who had a mother with Alzheimer's disease had about one and a half times more whole brain shrinkage per year compared to those who had a father with the disease. Shrinking of the brain, or , occurs in Alzheimer's disease.

"Using 3-D mapping methods, we were able to look at the different regions of the brain affected in people with maternal or paternal ties to Alzheimer's disease," said Honea. "In people with a maternal family history of the disease, we found differences in the break-down processes in specific areas of the brain that are also affected by , leading to shrinkage. Understanding how the disease may be inherited could lead to better prevention and treatment strategies."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Improving memory with magnets

March 27, 2017

The ability to remember sounds, and manipulate them in our minds, is incredibly important to our daily lives—without it we would not be able to understand a sentence, or do simple arithmetic. New research is shedding light ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dogbert
5 / 5 (1) Feb 28, 2011
This study is far too small to be definitive, but if there is a large maternal factor, perhaps we should be looking at mitochondria to understand Alzheimers.
NickFun
not rated yet Feb 28, 2011
My dad died af Alzheimer's at 75. But my grandma and grandpa on my mother's side lived to be 102 and 92 with no signs of dementia. And my mom's going strong at 82. Phew! I'm relieved ;)
dogbert
not rated yet Mar 01, 2011
Many diagnoses of Alzheimer's are incorrect. Unless there was an autopsy to confirm it, your dad may have had Alzheimer's or he may have had some other form of dementia.
cyberCMDR
not rated yet Mar 01, 2011
It's the mis-diagnosis rates that concern me regarding this study. Many factors can cause dementia, and many of them can be inherited. Sjogren's disease, an autoimmune disorder, often runs in families and according to the latest studies it can have CNS manifestations.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.