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The Contribution of Family History, Age and Genetics to the Development of Alzheimer's Disease

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Alzheimer’s disease is caused by three main factors: family history, age, and genetics. I have discussed in this paper the three main causes of Alzheimer’s disease; I have discussed the three causes of Alzheimer’s disease in annotated bibliography format. I have also discussed in the paper the possible solutions to the three causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Family History

Emory University School of Medicine: Depart of Human Genetics Division of Medical Genetics. “Family History of Alzheimer Disease”. Web. https://www.google.com /url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact>

The following is a description of the family history as the cause of Alzheimer’s disease according to the Emory University School of Medicine article, “Family History of Alzheimer’s Disease”. Despite the fact that the real causes of Alzheimer’s disease are not yet conclusively known studies have, however, shown close correlation between late- onset Alzheimer’s disease and Family History. This is because research has shown that people with some of their family members having suffered from Alzheimer’s disease are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease than the people whose family members have never suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. According to studies, approximately 25% of the people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease have had some of their family members suffer from the same disease. Studies on the causes of Alzheimer’s disease have revealed that the first degree relatives of an individual with Alzheimer’s disease have 20% risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. These studies have, therefore, revealed that family history, indeed, a contributory factor in the cause of Alzheimer’s.

Although scientists have not conclusively explained how the family history is important in understanding the cause of Alzheimer’s, scientists have some significant clues on how family history causes Alzheimer’s. The most significant breakthrough in understanding how family history causes Alzheimer’s relates to the gene called APOE. APOE is the gene that provides direction for the formation of protein E (Apolipoprotein). There are three types of APOE; these are APOE e2, APOE e3, and APOE e4. Studies have shown a significant association between APOE e4 and Alzheimer’s disease; those who inherit APOE e4 have a higher risk of developing late-onset Alzheimer’s disease than those who do not inherit the APOE e4 version of APOE gene. These studies, therefore, have shown that the APOE gene accounts for the correlation between family history and Alzheimer’s disease.

Although the people who inherit APOE e4 gene have a high risk of developing the late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to note that the gene APOE e4 does not cause Alzheimer. The actual cause of Alzheimer’s disease is yet unknown as we noted at the beginning of this paper. For that reason, APOE e4 gene is merely a predisposing factor of Alzheimer’s disease, but it is not the actual cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

It is important also to note that, although studies have revealed that there is a correlation between family history and Alzheimer’s disease, some people who develop Alzheimer’s disease have absolutely no history of Alzheimer’s disease. This fact means that the family history is not a sufficient account of the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. For that reason, it is quite important to look at other causes of Alzheimer’s disease, so as to know all the possible causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

Age as the Cause of Alzheimer’s disease

Burns, A., and Liffe, S. “Alzheimer’s Disease”. Clinical Research Journal.Web.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad>

According to Burns and Liffe, advanced age is the greatest known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. In their article, “Alzheimer’s Disease”, Burns and Liffe argues that many research have shown that advanced age is the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Burns and Liffe argues in this article that the majority of people who develop Alzheimer’s are of age 65 or older. Burns and Liffe also argues in this article that the probability of developing Alzheimer’s disease double after every five years after one reaches age 65. Burns and Liffe goes on to argue in the article that after one reaches age 85, the probability of developing Alzheimer’s is almost 85%. This fact, therefore, shows that age is, indeed, the greatest risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Despite the fact that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s rises with age, scientists, however, have not yet discovered why the risk of Alzheimer’s disease increases with age. For this reason, there is need for more research aimed at discovering why the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease increases with age.

Although the risk of Alzheimer’s increases with increase in age from age 65, Alzheimer’s disease, however, should not be confused with the normal forgetfulness that comes with advanced age. The symptoms of Alzheimer’s and the symptoms of the normal forgetfulness that comes with advanced age are quite different. According to the Alzheimer’s Association website (http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_1973.asp.), the following are the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s that differentiates Alzheimer’s disease from the other normal forgetfulness that comes with old age.

The first symptom of Alzheimer’s disease that differentiates it from the normal forgetfulness that comes with Old age is memory loss that disrupts daily life. The early stage of Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by forgetfulness of the recently learned information; also, the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by forgetting important dates and events, asking for the same information over and, and relying on memory aids. This fact shows that, unlike the normal forgetfulness that comes with advanced age, Alzheimer’s disease is a more acute form of forgetfulness.

The second symptom of Alzheimer’s disease that sets it off from the normal forgetfulness that comes with advanced age is challenges in planning or solving problems. People with Alzheimer’s disease have a problem in carrying out the tasks that they used to carry out easily. For instance, people with Alzheimer’s disease make occasional errors in balancing checkbook. On contrary, the normal forgetfulness that comes with old age doesn’t make old people unable to carry out the tasks that they used to carry out easily before the third major symptom of Alzheimer’s disease that differentiates Alzheimer’s from other diseases is that the people with Alzheimer’s disease are quite often confused about time and place. For instance, people with Alzheimer’s disease may be confused about the day of the week, but, they later figure it out. On contrary, the normal forgetfulness that comes with old age does not the old people confused about the day of the week.

Genetics as the Cause of Alzheimer’s disease

Blennow, K., de Leon, MJ., & Zetterberg, H. “Alzheimer’s Disease”. Lancet. Pgs. 387-403.

According to the article, “Alzheimer’s Disease” by Blennow, Leon, and Zetterberg, although scientists do not know for sure what actually causes Alzheimer’s disease, scientists, however, know for sure that there are some genes that are responsible for Alzheimer’s disease and they also know for sure that Alzheimer’s disease is hereditary. The authors of this article argue that Alzheimer’s gene is found in both the risk genes and the deterministic genes.

Alzheimer’s Association

Website: http://www.alz.org/alzheimers_disease_1973.asp.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association website, the risk genes are the genes that increase the probability of developing a disease, but they do not guarantee developing the disease. The following is an explanation of genetic as the cause of Alzheimer’s disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association website. So far, scientists have discovered several risk genes associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The strongest gene with the strongest influence is APOE-E4 gene. Scientists estimate that APOE-e4 gene accounts for approximately 20%- 25% of all Alzheimer’s cases. Children normally inherit some form of APOE gene from each parent. The children who inherit APOE-e4 form of APOE gene normally have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. But, although scientists are certain that APOE-e4 gene increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, scientists, however, do not know how APOE-e4 gene increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. APOE-e4 gene is mainly responsible for the Alzheimer that develops at early age.

Besides appearing in risk genes, Alzheimer’s gene is found also in deterministic genes. Deterministic genes are the genes that cause diseases directly; those who inherit deterministic genes are guaranteed to develop the disorder that those from whom they inherited the gene had. Through research, scientists have discovered three variations of deterministic genes that directly causes Alzheimer’s disease in the genes coding three proteins. These variations are: Amyloid precursor protein (APP), Presenilin- 1(PS-1), and the Presenilin -2 (PS-2).

When Alzheimer’s disease is caused by these variations of deterministic genes, the Alzheimer’s is called autosomal dominant Alzheimer’s disease (ADAD), or familial Alzheimer’s disease. Many family members in multiple generations are mainly affected by this kind of Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of the familial Alzheimer’s disease normally appear early in life, mainly at the age of 30s or 40s. The familial Alzheimer’s disease, however, is not a common type of Alzheimer’s disease. The familial Alzheimer’s disease normally account for only around 5% of all the cases of Alzheimer’s disease. This fact, therefore, shows that, although genetics is a cause of Alzheimer’s diseases, genetics, however, is not the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease. To be able to find cure for familial Alzheimer’s disease, scientists need to do more research so as to know how exactly APOE-e4 gene actually causes the Alzheimer’s disease.

Having looked at the three main causes of Alzheimer’s disease, let us look at the possible solution for these thee causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

The solution for Family History cause of Alzheimer’s disease

There is actually very little that can be done in regard to family history cause of Alzheimer’s disease. This is because the family history cause of Alzheimer’s disease is actually beyond our control; for this reason, Alzheimer’s that result from family history cannot be prevented. Despite this fact, however, Alzheimer’s resulting from family history can be managed and even cured. The best ways to manage Alzheimer’s resulting from family history is to use medication. There are a variety of drugs that are used to treat Alzheimer’s. One of these drugs is Donepezil; this medication is used to treat mild and moderate Alzheimer’s (Alzheimer’s Disease Factsheet, web). Donepezil drug is used also to treat severe Alzheimer. Other drug used to treat Alzheimer’s disease is Memantine. Memantine drug is used to treat both mild and severe cases of Alzheimer’s.

Solution to Age as the cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

Just as there is no prevention for Alzheimer’s disease resulting from family history, there is no scientifically proven method of preventing Alzheimer’s disease that result from old age. Despite this fact, however, there are various ways in which Alzheimer’s resulting from advanced age can be managed. One of this methods is maintaining general healthy aging (Alzheimer’s Association, web). Healthy aging refers to adopting a lifestyle that will help in keeping both your body and your brain fit. Some of the methods that can be used to maintain healthy aging include: avoiding excessive alcohol, remaining socially connected with other people, and exercising both your body and your minds. These strategies help to maintain healthy aging, thus delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease; healthy aging, also, help in mitigating the severity or the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease. Besides adopting healthy aging habits, medications are also used in treating Alzheimer’s disease that result from Old age.

Solution to Genetics as Cause of Alzheimer’s disease

Genetics as the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, also, has no sure solution; we simply cannot alter the genetic make-up of people and prevent them from developing Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease resulting from genetics can, however, be managed or even treated. The best way to manage Alzheimer’s resulting from genetics is adopting healthy eating habits. There are some forms of food that have scientifically been proven to either delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, or mitigate its severity and its impacts ( Burns, and Liffe, n.p). Some of the foods that delays or mitigates the impacts of Alzheimer’s disease include Japanese diets and some Mediterranean diets. Besides adopting healthy eating habits, medication also is used to treat Alzheimer’s disease resulting from genetics.

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The Contribution of Family History, Age and Genetics to the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease. (2018, August 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 15, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-contribution-of-family-history-age-and-genetics-to-the-development-of-alzheimers-disease/
“The Contribution of Family History, Age and Genetics to the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease.” GradesFixer, 02 Aug. 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-contribution-of-family-history-age-and-genetics-to-the-development-of-alzheimers-disease/
The Contribution of Family History, Age and Genetics to the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-contribution-of-family-history-age-and-genetics-to-the-development-of-alzheimers-disease/> [Accessed 15 Jan. 2021].
The Contribution of Family History, Age and Genetics to the Development of Alzheimer’s Disease [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Aug 02 [cited 2021 Jan 15]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-contribution-of-family-history-age-and-genetics-to-the-development-of-alzheimers-disease/
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