Alzheimer’s Is Not Genetic

Question: Is Alzheimer’s inherited \r\ngenetically?


Ottavio\r\nArancio:  With respect to\r\nthat I have to say that less than 5% of Alzheimer’s disease are \r\ngenetically\r\ntransmitted, so 95% are not genetically transmitted and generally \r\nspeaking the\r\nones that are genetically transmitted they tend to occur at earlier ages\r\n than,\r\nalthough it is not a general rule, but more often people who have it \r\nbecause of\r\ngenetic reasons that 5% of the people… population have it at earlier \r\nages, but\r\nonly 5% or less than 5%, about 5, around that number.


Question: Does the likelihood of \r\nacquiring Alzheimer’s vary\r\nacross cultures?


Ottavio\r\nArancio:  It’s not that in\r\nChina there is more than America or less or in Europe there is more or \r\nless\r\nthan here and there, but there are particular populations that in \r\nparticular\r\ncircumstances that could lead to dementia and because of the habits of \r\nthose\r\nyou know populations.  It’s just\r\nthere are small groups of people. \r\nFor instance, in the Pacific there were populations that used to \r\neat the\r\nbrain of the dead people and then they were transferring disease, which \r\none of\r\nthe symptoms of this disease was dementia and they were all developing\r\ndementia, so over there, there was a higher incidence of dementia just \r\nbecause\r\nthis habit of eating the brain of the people that were dead the \r\ntherefore like\r\nan infectious disease.  They were\r\ntransferring the disease and there were higher incidence of people \r\naffected by\r\ndisease.  Once this was found and\r\nthis habit was stopped then the incidence of disease became the same as \r\nwith in\r\nother populations.


Question: Who is most\r\nlikely to get Alzheimer’s disease?


Ottavio\r\nArancio:  In general you\r\n know if you\r\nlook at our society there is not a population of people or you know that\r\n is\r\nmore affected by the loss of memory. \r\nIt is a problem that hits with aging, so something related with \r\naging\r\nand so as we age we get more memory problems.  Obviously\r\n not all people are equal.  There are some who \r\nhave a better memory\r\nthan others, and we do not know why some people have a better memory \r\nthan\r\nothers.  I mean we say that the… if\r\nwe keep ourselves and our brain exercised just like a muscle then we \r\ntend to\r\nhave less memory problems, so it's kind of protective the\r\nactivity or mental activity.  Even\r\nsome people think even physical activity it could be protective against \r\nthe\r\nmemory loss, you know, the loss of memory. \r\nThat’s what I would have to say. \r\nObviously there are diseases which are associated. \r\n The most typical one is Alzheimer’s\r\ndisease, which are associated with the loss of memory and others, but of\r\n less\r\nrelevance and less…


Question: What form of memory decreases \r\nthe most with aging?


Ottavio\r\nArancio: The characteristic symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, which is\r\nreally hallmark of disease, is the loss of what we call short-term \r\nmemory, so\r\nthat’s how the disease starts actually. \r\nIt’s people who cannot remember what they just did, just very \r\nshort term\r\nmemory loss and that lasts for a very, very long time and progressively \r\nthe\r\nmemory problem gets worse and worse and only at the very late stage or \r\nAlzheimer’s\r\ndisease is when also long term memory is affected, but the major \r\ncharacteristic\r\nof Alzheimer’s disease, which is a very widespread disease in the \r\npopulation,\r\nespecially at old age, is the loss of short-term memory.


Less than 5% of Alzheimer’s Disease cases are genetically transmitted. The disease is a consequence of aging, and doesn't target specific demographics.

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