Genetic Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease

While most cases of Alzheimers Disease are not directly caused by a gene, there are some identified genetic links. For a fuller discussion of the genetics of Alzheimers disease, see the risk factors pages.

There are genetic tests for these genes, but they are typically only necessary in cases where there is a family history of younger onset dementia.

Younger onset Alzheimers disease (onset before age 65) is known to be caused by at least three genes:

APP (amyloid precursor protein) gene
Presenilin 1 gene
Presenilin 2 gene

There are genetic tests for these genes, but they are typically only necessary in cases where there is a family history of younger onset dementia. The E4 sub-type of the apolipoprotein E (ApoE) gene increases the risk of developing late onset Alzheimers disease, but does not cause the disease.

It is important to emphasize that while the ApoE4 variant may increase risk of developing late onset Alzheimers disease, having the ApoE4 gene does not mean that a person will develop the disease. Therefore, while ApoE4 gene tests do exist, they are usually not recommended.

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