Document Detail

Genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease: advising relatives.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11136203     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Clinicians are increasingly asked by relatives of patients with Alzheimer's disease to advise on their genetic risk of developing Alzheimer's disease in later life. Many clinicians find this a difficult question to answer. AIMS: To provide information for old age psychiatrists wishing to advise relatives of their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. METHOD: A selective review of the key literature on the genetic epidemiology of Alzheimer's disease. RESULTS: Currently a DNA diagnosis is attainable in some 70% of families with autosomal dominant Alzheimer's disease. In first-degree relatives of most cases, risk is increased some three- or four-fold relative to controls, but only one-third of this is realised in the average life span. Apolipoprotein E genotyping cannot be used as a predictive test and confers only minimal diagnostic benefit. CONCLUSIONS: Pedigrees with familial Alzheimer's disease should be referred to a Regional Centre for Medical Genetics. Accurate risk prediction is not possible in the vast majority of pedigrees with Alzheimer's disease, although it is possible for the psychiatrist to give a rough estimate of the risk, which can reasonably the couched in reassuring terms.
M B Liddell; S Lovestone; M J Owen
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The British journal of psychiatry : the journal of mental science     Volume:  178     ISSN:  0007-1250     ISO Abbreviation:  Br J Psychiatry     Publication Date:  2001 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2001-01-26     Completed Date:  2001-02-15     Revised Date:  2009-11-19    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0342367     Medline TA:  Br J Psychiatry     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  7-11     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Aged, 80 and over
Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis,  genetics*
Apolipoproteins E / genetics
Genetic Counseling
Genetic Testing*
Risk Factors
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Apolipoproteins E
Comment In:
Br J Psychiatry. 2001 Jul;179:73-4   [PMID:  11435273 ]

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