Dementia Patients Adult Kids Diagnosed Earlier Than Parents

October 28th 2019
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor
Jill Murphy, Assistant Editor

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that people with dementia, whose parents also had dementia, develop symptoms an average of six years earlier than their parents.

Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that people with dementia, whose parents also had dementia, develop symptoms an average of six years earlier than their parents.

The study used medical records and interviews of 164 participants and knowledgeable friends or family members to determine the age at onset of dementia for each participant and his or her parent.

The researchers analyzed a large set of known risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Heritable factors, such as ethnicity, race, and genetic variants, were looked at, as well as education, body mass index, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, depression, and more.

Participants with one parent with dementia were found to develop symptoms an average of 6.1 years earlier than the parent had. Meanwhile, if both parents had dementia, the age at onset was 13 years earlier than the average of the parents’ ages at diagnosis.

The results showed that all of the factors together accounted for 29% of the variability, which means that most of what influences the age of dementia onset remains to be identified. In addition, people who were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at unexpectedly younger or older ages than their parents were more likely than people diagnosed at the expected age to have certain mutations in Alzheimer’s genes.

Reference

Dementia patients’ adult kids diagnosed earlier than their parents. Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis News Hub. https://medicine.wustl.edu/news/dementia-patients-adult-kids-diagnosed-earlier-than-their-parents/. Published October 22, 2019. Accessed October 23, 2019.

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