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Genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease: advising relatives

Liddell, M. B., Lovestone, S. and Owen, Michael John 2001. Genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease: advising relatives. British Journal of Psychiatry 178 (1) , pp. 7-11. 10.1192/bjp.178.1.7

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Abstract

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.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Medicine
MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN: 0007-1250
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:36
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/80943

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