Marty and Matt Reiswig, two brothers in Denver, knew that Alzheimer’s disease ran in their family, but neither of them understood why. Then a cousin, Gary Reiswig, whom they barely knew, wrote a book about their family, “The Thousand Mile Stare.”
When the brothers read it, they realized what they were facing.
In the extended Reiswig family, Alzheimer’s disease is not just a random occurrence. It results from a mutated gene that is passed down from parent to child.
If you inherit the mutated gene, Alzheimer’s will emerge at around age 50 — with absolute certainty. Your child has a 50-50 chance of suffering the same fate.
The revelation came as a shock. And so did the next one: The brothers learned that there is a blood test that can reveal whether one carries the mutated gene. They could decide to know if they had it. Or not.
It’s a dilemma more people are facing as scientists discover more genetic mutations linked to diseases. Often the newly discovered gene increases risk, but does not guarantee it.
Click here to read the full story by Gina Kolata, New York Times.