PHOENIX, Ariz. -- June 18, 2019 -- Results from a study of nearly 60,000 individuals suggest those at higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease due to family history may demonstrate changes in memory performance as early as their 20s.
The study results suggest that the family history effect is particularly pronounced among men, as well as those with lower educational attainment, diabetes, and carriers of a common genetic change in APOE, a gene long associated with Alzheimer's disease risk.
While family history has previously been associated with the risk of Alzheimer's, this is the first study of its kind, and in these numbers, that indicates this risk can be detected up to four decades before the typical age of onset.
The study looked at 59,571 MindCrowd participants aged 18-85, and the effect of family history was shown across every age group, up until age 65.
"In this study we show that family history is associated with reduced paired-associate learning performance as many as four decades before the typical onset of Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Matt Huentelman, TGen Professor of Neurogenomics, and the study's senior author
Because there is no cure or proven way of slowing progressive memory-loss among those with Alzheimer's, early indicators of the disease can help those at risk to focus on ways to help stave off dementia.