Ask the doctor: Should I consider gene testing?

Q. Alzheimer's runs in my family. Will it help to get gene testing for this disease?

A. A relatively small fraction of cases of Alzheimer's disease begin between the ages of 30 and 60—a type called early-onset Alzheimer's disease. In most people with this form of the disease, the cause is one of several mutant genes that the person has inherited from a parent. The primary genes that we know about are called PSEN1, PSEN2, and APP. If someone inherits one of these mutated genes, it is very likely (but not certain) they will develop the disease.

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