What does the term genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's mean? It is about the possibility of developing the disease in the future.
The genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's, hit the headlines for the statements of the actor Chris Hemsworth , indicates the presence of two copies of a specific gene. Let's see what it means and how to behave when genetic tests give a positive result.
Genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's: what does it mean?
The term genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's indicates the possibility of developing the disease. It should be emphasized that this is not a diagnosis of Alzheimer's nor a certainty of having the disease in the future, but only information obtained through DNA analysis. When two copies of the APOE4 gene are identified within the latter, it means that there is a risk of developing the disease. The US National Institute of Health, after a survey conducted in 2021, pointed out that only 2-3% of the population that has two copies of the APOE4 gene gets Alzheimer's disease.
We're talking about a neurodegenerative disease that progressively kills nerve cells, especially affecting those in the brain responsible for memory and learning. Alzheimer's affects about 40 million people worldwide, 1 million in Italy alone. The pathology especially affects the over 60s and, although it progresses in a different way, it always has the same ending: the patients depend entirely on others and do not even recognize their family members.
The case of Chris Hemsworth
Recently, actor Chris Hemsworth spoke about genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's. Famous for starring in the films Thor and Extraction, the 39-year-old took a break from work after discovering he has two copies of the APOE4 gene, one from his mother and one from his father.
Hemsworth, interviewed by Vanity Fair , said he performed genetic tests for the docuseries Limitless and received a bad cold shower. It is good to reiterate that genetic predisposition does not confirm Alzheimer's and even less the certainty of being able to develop it in the future. One exam that can diagnose the disease early is the Mini-Mental State Examination.
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