Medical Research Charities > News > Screening for Alzheimer’s Gene Tests the Desire to Know – NY Times

Screening for Alzheimer’s Gene Tests the Desire to Know – NY Times

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.

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Click here to read the full story by Gina Kolata, New York Times.